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Five-storey building will transform its waterfront site, says ‘pleased’ Celia

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Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Councillor Andy Foster have welcomed the Environment Court’s approval for the construction of a five-storey building on the North Kumutoto area of Wellington’s waterfront and the redevelopment of the public areas nearby.

While the approval is subject to conditions, Mayor Wade-Brown says the decision is a clear endorsement of the City Council’s decision to support the design.

She says the proposed construction of the building by Willis Bond, and the associated upgrade of public areas will transform the site.

“I’m pleased there will be an attractive building instead of an asphalt car park and that it will create an attractive space near the historic Ferry building and give some shelter without blocking viewshafts along Whitmore Street. I’m sure the building will be award-winning and its construction will provide welcome jobs too.

“The adjacent site eight will be a charming open space with harbour views. The new boardwalks and bridges will make the harbour much more accessible.”

Cr Foster, who is chair of the council’s transport and urban development committee, says: “The Waterfront Framework clearly indicates this area would be developed as an area of ‘squares, lanes and new buildings in scale with the heritage buildings, such as Shed 21 at the northern end’. It is very pleasing that the Court has solidly endorsed this.

“The transformation of Wellington’s waterfront since the late 1980s, when it was dominated by carparking areas, is widely praised and has won many many awards. It is the balance of open and built space that is so successful. The building at Site 10 will bring more activity to the northern end of the waterfront, and pay for and complement the upgrade of open space including Site 8.”

He adds: “It is always satisfying seeing the waterfront used by so many people for such a wide range of activities on any half decent day. The Court’s decision is a milestone that will bring that activity to the northern end of the waterfront, and is another step in the transformation of our waterfront.”

He also welcomes the Court’s direction that the Council address conditions relating to traffic management and wind sheltering at the Whitmore Street-Jervois Quay intersection.

The City Council’s City Shaper Manager Ian Pike says construction of the building and the redevelopment of the surrounding area could start next April once the motorhome park on the site is shifted to an adjacent site on CentrePort land.

Read also:
Another bargain for Willis Bond

6 comments:

  1. Polly, 13. October 2015, 16:34

    I would like to point out to the Mayor and Councillor Foster that just across the road from Kumutoto on Waterloo Quay there are 3 high rise office blocks: NZ Post, BP House and Craig Investments at No 36 being strengthened and refurbished. They are providing more jobs than the 5 storeys planned for Kumutoto which will block views from land and sea. With so many new tenants in these three buildings on Waterloo Quay, not to forget Asteron House and the Waterloo backpackers hotel as well as cruise ship visitors, they will not want to cross the road to another office block. They would prefer to be welcomed by open recreation space to relax and enjoy the views.

     
  2. JC, 13. October 2015, 19:27

    Polly – I think the plans for Site 8 solve your concern. An open space by itself is attractive to very few.

     
  3. Patrick McCombs, 13. October 2015, 20:02

    To suggest that an office building on the waterfront should be approved because it is better than a carpark, as the council’s planner told the Environment Court, is outrageous. The carparks appeared only after the council took over ownership of the waterfront from the Harbour Board. The agreed Waterfront Framework says that parking should be limited to waterfront users, not commuters. The council could have developed the area as a grove of karaka and nikau trees, sheltered seating and native planting over the past 15 years, even if they had always planned a building on the site. But they knew that the public would never have accepted a building unless they trashed the neighbourhood in the meantime. They used the same trashing strategy with rusting fishing boats tied up to the Overseas Passenger Terminal until redevelopment was approved, and by retaining sheds around Waitangi Park blocking the views until approving a plan for the park that includes four large buildings.

    And as for welcoming the development of Site 8 as public open space, if it wasn’t for the Environment Court upholding appeals from Waterfront Watch and others, there would probably be another building on the site by now. I’m glad that, in hindsight, councillors now agree it’s better without a building.
    Patrick McCombs, Waterfront Watch

     
  4. Polly, 13. October 2015, 20:28

    JC, what so many have told Council: visitors arriving from cruise ships, the railway and bus stations would like an information centre and provision to be able to hire bikes, kayaks, skates etc to continue on to Te Papa. Very popular also would be similar ice cream, coffee, soft drink vans that provide seating, not another café/restaurant which Wellington and the waterfront is not short of. Also the planting of more native trees would be popular with our Tuis. When the first cruise ship was in town it was great to see the tourists taking photos at Midland Park of the trees and the Katherine Mansfield sculpture, not the office blocks!

     
  5. Hel, 13. October 2015, 21:39

    Re-development of the OPT has greatly enhanced that area. That is my view and I think the combination of the new building at Kumutoto and the development of the public spaces adjacent will be a good addition to this rather bleak area.

     
  6. CC, 13. October 2015, 22:43

    Ah – the One Percenter’s Townhouses!!! Great deal for Willis Bond who, from many accounts, got a virtually cost free site once the claw-back provisions attached to the deal kicked in. Now that the waterfront has been book-ended by a favoured speculator, how long before he acquires the parts he doesn’t already own or control. Can it be expected that when Willis Bond achieves that goal, the costs of goods and services on the waterfront will be inflated, as at the airport, to meet the rental expectations of a monopolist enterprise? For the benefit of Hel, the ‘bleak area’ was a creation of Wellington Waterfront Ltd which lacked the ability and imagination to meet the expectations placed on it despite excessive salaries and directors’ fees. One can only surmise that such an incompetent outfit was taken in-house and re-branded with a Disneyland title because someone knows where the skeletons are buried.