Formal expressions of interest have opened for developers keen to help Panuku Development Auckland transform central Takapuna.
The CEO of the Takapuna Beach Business Association, Terence Harpur, says proposed changes have brought a sense of anticipation and excitement to the popular North Shore locality.
Plans involve transforming 6000sq m of the Anzac St car park available from mid-2020. This will serve commercial and residential development, behind the Main Street shops (on Hurstmere Rd) and alongside Berkeley Cinema.
Harpur says key to the success of the "Unlock Takapuna" project, will be a new town square earmarked for part of the site, which Panuku will fund and deliver.
"The future of the Anzac St Car Park has been a point of contention for years," he says. "But our research suggests strong public support followed the council's decision to change the car park's planning designation last year, to create a more people-orientated future.
"For anyone concerned about the loss of car parks, less than 200m away Panuku is building a 420-park-building on the old Gasometer site in Huron St. The Unitary Plan requires one car-parking-space for every 30sq m of retail development, so the new development will have to provide some additional car parks."
He says there will be an upgrade of the bus interchange on Lake Rd; upgrades to Huron and Northcroft Streets, and a new 3000sq m town square, to dramatically increase and improve public open space.
Meanwhile, the new town square will be linked to Hurstmere Rd, and to ensure this an old shop at 38 Hurstmere Rd had been bought and demolished.
"Removing this premises helps to re-orientate Takapuna, giving it a bigger heart.
More recent development has made more of the town's famous beach, but the new one will create a new east-west flow, better linking the parts of town set further back from the sea (such as Shore City Shopping Centre) to the main street, and ultimately the beach.
A new pedestrian environment is now being designed to upgrade Hurstmere Rd.
"As well as much-needed improvements to the streetscaping, Auckland Transport will prioritise space for pedestrians and reduce vehicle traffic," says Harpur.
"The main street will become one-way, running south to north; angle parking will be replaced with parallel parking and there'll be a drop-off only zone on the beach side of the road."