The Auckland Council has voted 14-5 to sell Queen Elizabeth Square to Precinct Properties for a giant mall and skyscraper.
The sale follows two reports saying the square is a poor quality public open space.
The proceeds from the sale - one commercial real estate agent said it was worth about $60 million - would go towards improved public spaces on the waterfront.
Mayor Len Brown told today's Auckland development committee meeting the sale was a "great asset for asset deal".
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The redecorating of the shopping centre and sale of the square would provide a laneway from Britomart to Lower Albert St to a new bus terminal and turning Lower Queen St into a pedestrianised space.
Councillor John Watson said the public had not been consulted or had a say about the sale.