A plan to build a $200 million high rise housing and retail block on Mission Bay's beachfront has been refused resource consent because it would be too tall.

The proposal by developers Urban Partners would have seen Mission Bay given a major facelift but would have required the demolition of some of the area's most well-known buildings, such as the De Fontein Belgian Beer Cafe.

Drive Holdings applied to Auckland Council for resource consent to build on a 6527sq m block between Tāmaki Dr, Patteson Ave and Marau Crescent. The tallest building would have been seven storeys high.

Their plan met strong opposition with submitters concerned views of the Hauraki Gulf would be blocked and the development would change Mission Bay's character.


Of a total 699 submissions, 626 were opposed, three neutral and 70 in favour.

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Many of those most strongly opposed were homeowners whose views would be affected by the build.

Local man Don Stock, who led the charge against the development, has previously said he was pro-development but called the plans "really cruddy", too tall and too bulky.

In a decision released today by Auckland Council, the independent hearing commissioners said the consent had been refused based on the visual effects the development would have had on the area.

"Overall, the adverse effects of the proposal to construct a new multi-level mixed use development would be unacceptable," they wrote.

"The excess height of the proposal will result in adverse visual and dominance effects on the amenity of the surrounding environment, including the local centre environment itself, nearby residential areas that overlook the site, and the wider landscape."

The development was also inconsistent with some aspects of Auckland's Unitary Plan, the city's planning document, the commissioners said.


The developer's project director Doug Osborne has previously told the Herald the project would bring "much needed" improvement to the commercial area and create a lasting lifestyle legacy for a favourite spot for Aucklanders and visitors.

"We've put thought and care into a design that references elements of the art deco flavour of Mission Bay while providing a mix of hospitality, modern retail and recreational space for locals and visitors."

Some well-known buildings at Mission Bay, including the Belgian Beer Cafe, would be demolished to make way for the new high-rise. File photo / Dean Purcell
Some well-known buildings at Mission Bay, including the Belgian Beer Cafe, would be demolished to make way for the new high-rise. File photo / Dean Purcell

The applicant has 15 working days to file an appeal with the Environment Court after receiving today's decision. Osborne said he was disappointed with the decision. The developers were still taking advice on the next steps.

"We have sought to design a centre that references Mission Bay's past while preparing it for the future.

"Our vision is of a legacy project that serves the current community and future generations. We don't want to see Mission Bay left behind while the rest of Auckland grows.

"We remain committed to the long-term future of Mission Bay and will now take guidance from our advisors and review our options."

Local councillor Desley Simpson posted the news to her Facebook page, congratulating locals who had fought the decision.

"Nobody was against development of the site just against how EXCESSIVE it was against UP [Unitary Plan] rules," she wrote.

Breaking news ! The Mission Bay Development has been rejected by the independent planning commissioners Nobody was...

Posted by Desley Simpson on Sunday, 6 October 2019

Under the Unitary Plan, the seaside suburb is slated for some development with some areas allowed buildings up to 18m.

However the tallest of the proposed buildings would have been 28m high.

Auckland Council premium resource consents manager Anna Wallace said a copy of the decision could be found on the council's website.

"The applicant and/or any submitter may appeal the council decision under section 120 of the Resource Management Act 1991 to the Environment Court within 15 working days of the receipt of the decision."