Plans have emerged for a 65-level glass office/hotel tower in Auckland's heart that would look similar to London's controversial Shard.

Craige Mayo, property developer and managing director of Global Outlook, presented the image to the Environment Court this week, showing how the city's skyline would change dramatically.

The court was hearing a heritage battle over the 1911 Yates building and two others in the block between Albert, Wolfe and Federal Sts after Auckland Council sought to schedule the buildings, preventing major demolition or alterations.

Mr Mayo's plans showed a tower of almost Sky Tower height. Architect Duncan Dempsey explained the 65-level structure, saying it would have a 300-room international hotel with street-level retail boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants.


Mr Mayo and Mr Dempsey gave evidence supporting real estate investor Stuart Galloway, director of companies which own buildings on the inner-city block, who is opposing moves to protect them.

Mr Galloway wants to sell the site and Mr Mayo said an international investor wanted to buy it and build the tower. International hotel chain Carlson is said to be interested.

London's Shard, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, has offices, exclusive apartments, a luxury hotel, restaurants and a viewing gallery on the 72 floors that can be occupied.

The Auckland glass structure cannot be built until the heritage issues are resolved.

But Mr Mayo said a deal was on the table to buy the site from Mr Galloway and build the tower.

The matter returns to court on August 16.