Private developers are being invited to partner with Hamilton City Council to further open the central city to the Waikato River by developing the Victoria on the River precinct.
Council already owns five buildings in the precinct, running from 242-266 Victoria St. Bought in 2018, the buildings cover a combined area of more than 2000sq m including a right-of-way over the Victoria on the River reserve. All buildings are leased.
The council has invited developers to comment on a broad development concept for the area that would include a multi-storey mixed-use development, underground parking, ground and first-floor retail, hospitality and commercial space. Apartments would be built on upper floors to encourage inner-city living.
Mayor Paula Southgate says the move would help realise one of Hamilton's five, long-term priorities developed in consultation with the wider community.
"We have been very clear that we want to develop a central city where people love to be. It's a priority for Hamilton people and it's a priority for us," she said.
"Connecting our central city much more closely to our stunning Waikato River is a huge part of that and this piece of work is a significant step towards a complete rejuvenation of the city's riverside.
"The Victoria on the River precinct is already a beautiful, well-used space and there is huge potential to turn this location into something amazing that few cities can offer," she said.
Deputy mayor Geoff Taylor, who chairs the Central City Advisory Group, said the development invitation continued the council's ongoing emphasis towards the creation of a central riverside precinct flowing from the proposed Aranui Sports Hub at Ferrybank, a pedestrian/cycle bridge near the museum, the new commercial jetty and Waikato Regional Theatre.
"When we walk along Victoria St in years to come we're going to see a city that absolutely celebrates the river, a city that's vibrant and exciting. I'm very, very happy to see this progressing. It will be transformational for Hamilton," he says.
Southgate said the heritage Victoria Building and former Guthrie Bowron Building, will be preserved and enhanced as part of the development.
Profits from the sale of the land will be ploughed back into the city through the recently reinvigorated Municipal Endowment Fund, she said.
Council anticipates the expressions of interest phase will close in April next year. A preferred partner will be put forward to the council for approval before detailed design work can begin.