In September last year the council created Panuku Development Auckland – a region wide urban redevelopment agency. In December the council’s development committee confirmed a range of potential locations where Panuku could be involved and one of those was Takapuna – which Panuku listed as an “Unlock” location. They define unlock as “act as the facilitator to create opportunities for others”. In essence it will mean they will sell off land to developers with certain requirements attached as to how it is developed.
They’ve now received approval from council to proceed with a high level project plan to get under way with unlocking Takapuna – an area I’m quite interested in given I work there so am keen to see it improve. It’s also important in the context of Auckland as it’s identified in plans as a metropolitan centre and it’s quite a unique one at that given its location with both a beach and a lake on its doorstep.
The plan revolves around a handful of properties the council own in Takapuna – most of which are currently used as carparks. Panuku say the outcomes they are seeking include:
- Takapuna metropolitan centre is recognised as the primary commercial and community hub for Devonport-Takapuna that is contemporary, vibrant, pleasant, inviting and with a relaxed beach-side atmosphere
- Strong pedestrian connections and orientation to Takapuna Beach
- Quality future mixed use development and public space improvement
- Increased opportunities for new local businesses and economic growth
- More intensive housing options with easy access to local community infrastructure and amenities
- A more pedestrian focused and cycle friendly environment with a network of open space, laneways and urban plazas
- Car parking that supports the retail and entertainment identity of Hurstmere Road and the centre’s heart
- High quality transformational projects including, the ‘Gasometer’ and Anzac Street car parks
The map below shows the sites Panuku are looking at and they form two separate opportunities.
And here are some details about the sites
The properties form two distinct opportunities, the Anzac Ave carpark and the old Gasometer site between Huron and Northcroft streets. In both cases it seems that the biggest challenge will be about what to do with the carparking and on that front it seems Auckland Transport are pushing for it to be retained and even expanded. This isn’t to say that the parking should all just be removed but does suggest that some parts of AT still believe their role is to ensure everyone can drive everywhere.
29. AT has advised that there is a requirement to secure the continued and future provision of commuter parking within the centre and also that any development planning needs to have regard to meeting future public transport needs.
30. AT has developed the Takapuna comprehensive parking management plan which estimates that the current supply of short stay / visitor parking in Takapuna exceeds the demand by about 300 spaces. Projected economic growth is expected to absorb this surplus over the next 10 years, with demand for an additional 580 visitor parking spaces anticipated in 30 years’ time. As the development of the Anzac and Gasometer sites will result in the removal car parking, anticipated demand will need to be accommodated within the centre in some way that is acceptable to AT.
31. To progress any initiatives to facilitate the development of these sites it is essential to confirm and test the AT requirements and the degree of flexibility as to where this car parking is located in order to optimise development opportunities and design outcomes. In addition, the provision for and management of public transport through the centre is also critica. At this stage it is assumed to be catered for within the existing public streets and does not have a direct impact on any of the sites.
32. The final details of AT requirements will be worked through as part of the framework planning which will directly inform the opportunities for each site. Furthermore, as the main areas of Council land are so significant in meeting the off street parking provision within Takapuna, the sequencing and timing of development of each site needs to be planned to ensure that the commercial functionality of the centre is not undermined by the loss of parking for a significant period of time.
The Takapuna Centre Plan published in 2014 gives an idea of what could be in store for the Anzac St carpark site.
And what it could look like integrated with Potters Park which is often underused.
While they might only be concept images, they present an interesting vision and something that is considerably better than what exists now.
Speaking of what exists now, this is what the Gasometer site looks like, it even has a ready-made hole in the ground for underground parking which is bound to make AT happy.
Not everyone is happy with the idea though. Local board member Jan O’Connor calls the Anzac Ave carpark public open space because it’s used on a Sunday for markets. The rest of the week it’s full of cars or cars looking for a park and is hardly a very welcoming public space.
Further if the markets are desirable to retain then there are lots of other options, for example they could go on a closed Hurstmere Rd – something the Centre Plan says
The council is working on concept designs for Hurstmere Road. An important part of the design will be to prioritise pedestrians over vehicles. For example, a flush surface street (as illustrated) assists in slowing traffic while creating additional space for pedestrian amenity, particularly where the recently upgraded Hurstmere Green meets Hurstmere Road. A flush surface also provides flexibility for the whole street to be closed for special events and to introduce an increasing pedestrian open space function as the centre’s population and activity grows.
She is in the first part of the video below complaining about potential development. The second part is the Local Board Chair Joseph Bergin
Let’s hope Panuku can have some good progress and start getting these developments going. More people and shops in the heart of Takapuna would be a very good thing.