Weekend Herald - - Front Page -

When the horn sounds for the Amer­ica’s Cup in 2021, the Auck­land wa­ter­front will be sport­ing a new, jazzed-up look. Like the move from cata­ma­rans of the past two Cups to 75-ft foil­ing mono­hulls, Auck­lan­ders will no­tice a big dif­fer­ence along the wa­ter­front from Brit­o­mart to Wyn­yard Quar­ter.

The Cup vil­lage will be dressed up around Hob­son Wharf, the Viaduct Events Cen­tre — the home of Team New Zealand — and on Wyn­yard Point, where there will be a pit row of chal­leng­ing teams. More than 80 su­pery­achts will be moored up.

It will be the most in­clu­sive Amer­ica’s Cup event ever, says Team New Zealand, with a large area set aside at its base for the pub­lic and sites for fans to be part of the ac­tion on and off the wa­ter.

Be­tween them, Auck­land Coun­cil and the Gov­ern­ment are spend­ing $212 mil­lion on construction and run­ning costs for the Cup — $114m from taxpay­ers and $98.5m from ratepay­ers.

On top of this, coun­cil is pour­ing in $55m of new money and bring­ing for­ward $53m of ex­pen­di­ture on a raft of projects to spruce up the wa­ter­front for the Cup and Apec con­fer­ence in 2021.

Auck­land ur­ban de­sign cham­pion Ludo Camp­bell-Reid says that by the time both events roll around the city will have found its mojo. Auck­lan­ders will feel prouder, more con­fi­dent and more in love with the city.

“A city-cen­tre heart will be beat­ing and a sense of what is pos­si­ble and what is at stake will be crys­tal clear,” says the English­man with a hyped-up en­thu­si­asm for his new home­land.

By 2021, Camp­bell-Reid says, the city’s res­i­den­tial pop­u­la­tion will have reached 70,000, Wyn­yard Quar­ter will have a com­mu­nity of 5000 res­i­dents, Queen El­iz­a­beth Square out­side Brit­o­mart will have been re­turned to the city, the ferry ter­mi­nal will be re­con­fig­ured and Quay St will be more of a walk­ing prom­e­nade than a car­riage­way for cars.

Ex­cite­ment lev­els are ris­ing as fast as the steel gird­ers on the Commercial Bay project on the old Down­town shop­ping cen­tre site at the bot­tom of Queen St.

Scott Pritchard, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Precinct Prop­er­ties, de­vel­oper of the 39-level of­fice tower and 120 shops, bars and restaurants, says it will be a re­tail cen­tre “as good as you’ll find any­where in the world”.

Swedish cloth­ing chain H&M is open­ing its flag­ship New Zealand store in Commercial Bay this year. There will be a large food hall with $5 meals or dumplings or noo­dles along­side of­fer­ings from celebrity chefs. “We’re ex­pect­ing about 10 mil­lion peo­ple a year to make their way through Commercial Bay re­tail af­ter it is com­pleted,” Pritchard told the Her­ald this month.

Heart of the City chief ex­ec­u­tive Viv Beck de­scribes Commercial Bay, with its laneways and 10,000 or so of­fice work­ers, as a “key nexus” join­ing the wa­ter­front, Brit­o­mart and Queen St. It will be part of a more 24/7 city that will in­clude longer shop­ping hours and night-time events, says Beck, who con­curs with Camp­bell-Reid that Ma¯ori de­sign is be­com­ing an in­te­gral part of the pub­lic realm and Auck­land’s own iden­tity.

At Wyn­yard Cen­tral — the block to­wards Victoria Park at Wyn­yard Quar­ter — the first res­i­dents have moved into a new neigh­bour­hood of stylish apart­ments and town­houses. By 2021, sev­eral more res­i­den­tial projects will be com­pleted, linked by paved laneways with shops, bars and restaurants at street level.

Mayor Phil Goff said the Amer­ica’s Cup will bring vi­brancy and eco­nomic ben­e­fits to Auck­land and a chance to show­case the city and har­bour, cut­ting-edge technology and the sport­ing skills of Ki­wis.

“The Amer­ica’s Cup vil­lage will be at the heart of the event with en­ter­tain­ment and at­trac­tions for fans. Fur­ther afield, our trans­for­ma­tive plans for the city cen­tre and wa­ter­front will cre­ate a more pedes­trian-friendly city cen­tre with well­con­nected pub­lic trans­port and at­trac­tive pub­lic spa­ces,” Goff said.

One project that will not be com­plete for 2021 is the $3.4 bil­lion City Rail Link, al­though the first stage from Brit­o­mart and un­der Commercial Bay and up Al­bert St to Wyn­d­ham St will be fin­ished and land­scaped. The CRL is not due to open un­til 2023/2024.

It is un­clear how far along Labour’s $6 bil­lion plan for mod­ern trams will be. The project will in­volve dis­rup­tive works in the cen­tral city dig­ging up Wyn­yard Quar­ter, Fan­shawe St and Queen St.

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