Some good news last week with the announcement that the Council’s former Civic Administration Building – which was given Category A heritage status under the Unitary Plan – will be restored. To make things better, it will be joined by a number of new buildings filling in what is currently a dead zone surrounding it.
The iconic Civic Administration Building in Aotea Square will be restored and the surrounding area developed under a private sector proposal that will breathe life into a key part of our city centre.
The city’s urban development agency Panuku Development Auckland has selected Tawera Group to restore the Category A heritage building after an international tender process.
Tawera’s Civic Quarter proposal features residential apartments in the upper floors with food and beverage facilities on the ground floor of the existing building. There will also be a new apartment building on the Mayoral Drive corner, a new boutique hotel on Mayoral Drive and a building featuring a Whare Tapere performance space fronting Aotea Square.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown says Civic Quarter shows what is possible if we make the most of the opportunities we have with heritage buildings.
“With the population in the central city expected to double in the next 30 years, it’s essential we develop new accommodation options to make this a liveable city. This scheme is a fantastic way to achieve this. It’s all about making the most of the land and opportunities we have in a growing city.”
The mayor says Civic Quarter will bring a new edge to Aotea Square, with the hotel as well as the food and beverage offerings in the development adding vitality to this corner of Auckland’s arts precinct.
“And for Aucklanders the best news is that this partnership with a well-respected private sector developer will come at no cost to ratepayers.”
Panuku Project Director Clive Fuhr says after an extensive tender process it’s pleasing to announce the plans for a building that has remained largely empty since being vacated by the council.
“It was important to provide a viable commercial opportunity that would enable the restoration of a heritage building, the provision of more housing and the revitalisation of this precinct.”
Fuhr says Tawera was the lead tenderer from an Expressions of Interest and Request for Proposals process that attracted global interest and some impressive detailed submissions.
The Tawera proposal was selected with guidance from a panel of urban design experts and heritage advisors. Mana whenua were also part of the selection process, ensuring the Te Aranga Maori Design principles were incorporated.
“It was important we found the right partner to ensure both the heritage features of the building are protected and that it tells a strong Maori story. We were very impressed with Tawera who recently won the Property Council award for their Hopetoun Residences,” says Fuhr.
“Their scheme certainly gives effect to the objectives in the recently adopted Aotea Quarter Framework Plan.”
Tawera principal John Love says his team is excited to be part of this important development for Auckland.
“Civic Quarter is the kind of regeneration project that has won Tawera Group awards in the past. It will blend an iconic Auckland landmark with cutting edge design ensuring that the Aotea Quarter becomes a must visit destination for all.”
Auckland Council Heritage Manager Noel Reardon, whose team was involved in the selection process, says the Civic was the city’s tallest building when it was completed in 1966 and it went on to become an icon of local government.
“It’s great news to see such an iconic building being restored. The council’s heritage team will work closely with the developers to ensure the heritage features are retained and restored.”
The next steps in the development will be for Tawera to work through the resource and building consents, particularly in terms of the refurbishment works. Building is expected to start in mid-2017 and take three years.
This shows the expected layout of the buildings that are planned
As a comparison, most of this space is currently carparks and largely unused dead space
Here’s a video of what’s proposed, some of what’s proposed looks a little awkward but hopefully that can improve as the design evolves. I also hope a lot of care is taken with the design of those shared lanes. I do like that this part of Mayoral Dr will finally have some activation but that will also mean we need to ensure Mayoral Dr isn’t just left as a racetrack.
One thing that also struck me was how in some ways the Whare Tapere is a modern take on Tibor Donner’s original design for the area which included annexes on either side of the Civic Admin Building, as can be seen here. You can also see that image doesn’t include Mayoral Dr which was bulldozed through the area.