The Northern Busway has been one of Auckland’s most successful transport investments. In the 11 years since it opened it has become the best and most used public transport corridor in probably all of the country. At peak times in the peak direction there are now buses, mostly double deckers, every minute or two and off-peak and counter-peak there are buses every 5-10 minutes. While post new network we’re still working through a change in how the numbers are reported, the indications are the busway is also carrying more passengers than any of the rail lines in both Auckland and Wellington.

It’s become so busy that at peak times we’re probably at the limit for how many buses can effectively operate on it until the extension to Albany is completed in a few years and fixes the Constellation Station bottleneck, as we found out when the New Network launched.

Perhaps even more importantly, it has hugely extended the life of the harbour bridge by massively increasing its people-carrying capacity. This has removed the need for another road crossing of the harbour saving us $5 billion or more. Although given its success, the busway will need to be upgraded to light rail in the coming decades and it will need a dedicated harbour crossing – but providing that is much cheaper than providing a road crossing.

What makes the busway’s success even more remarkable is that it’s stations have remarkably poor catchments thanks to the motorway and most have large areas of ’empty’ land nearby meaning there is a much more limited potential for walk up ridership from nearby residents. Even where there does appear to be houses nearby, the street network often makes the walking distance considerably longer – for example there are some houses within 200m of the Constellation Station that are a 1.5km walk away.

A private plan change proposed by the owners of the Smales Farm business park may help change that a bit. The details are included in the agenda for tomorrow’s Devonport-Takapuna Local Board meeting as part of the process of gauging the board’s views on the proposal to as part of the process to help the council decide on whether to ‘adopt, accept or reject’ the proposal. If accepted it would still need a full public notification process.

Smales Farm is currently zoned only as a business park and they are seeking to add up to 1,300 apartments to the site as well as their future plans for more commercial space.

  1. Neither the Business Park zoning nor the Smales 1 Precinct provide for residential accommodation (other than ‘visitor accommodation and boarding houses’) and this is the primary purpose of the plan change – to enable residential, apartment type developments. The residential land use would be permitted but the buildings assessed via ‘restricted discretionary’ applications. No reduction in office floor space capacity is proposed from that presently enabled – up to 162,000 square metres, beyond which further consent would be required.
  2. The residential developments would be up to 75 metres high, with some parts of buildings up to 100 metres, and they would be towards the motorway (western side of the site). The applicant considers the site to have the potential for up to 1300 residential units.
  3. The Smales Farm business park site is a strategic one on the North Shore of Auckland, located adjacent to the Northcote interchange of the northern motorway, and adjoining the Northern Busway and Smales Farm Station. The locality is best described as a mixed use corridor, with a variety of non-residential uses nearby, including the North Shore hospital, Westlake Girls High School and health-related businesses and services. The applicant considers that the relative lack of nearby residential areas creates the opportunity for greater intensity and height

This seems like a no-brainer for the council to accept. As is mentioned above, this is an ideal location to have apartments given all of the amenity nearby. It’s also a far better use of the land than a large number of surface level carparks that exist now.

Given the infrastructure to support housing here is basically already in place, the financial benefits to the city of this kind of development are huge. By way of example, the Council’s Chief Economist Unit estimated that greenfield dwellings need around $150,000 of bulk infrastructure per dwelling. That means if these 1300 apartments were instead houses in greenfield areas, they would save nearly $200 million of bulk infrastructure required by the greenfields alternative.

Below are a few images attached to the agenda of what’s proposed. These are from the concept masterplan so the actual result will probably end up quite different but gives an idea of what is being aimed for.

Looking from the westLooking from the North

These two give a good indication of the potential future layout.

From having worked there, there are some good things that have been happening at Smales Farm, such as moves to make it more pedestrian friendly with many raised table pedestrian crossings that help keep cars at slow speeds. I think taking this further and making it a denser and more urban node would definitely be an improvement.

I also think this would only strengthen the case for a much needed overhaul of the horrific Taharoto Rd traffic sewer. The road provides a vital connection between Smales Farm and Takapuna which is only 2km away and needs a lot more space on its wide footprint dedicated to buses, bikes and pedestrians.

Let’s hope this development moves ahead. It would be nice to see these apartments built in the next few years, rather than the next 20-30 years.

Perhaps we should also be looking across the other side of the motorway at the golf course (which is owned by the Council). At first glance the golf course looks around four times the size of Smales Farm, which suggests that it could be possible to build around 5000 apartments and potentially save up to $800 million of sprawl supporting infrastructure spend.

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174 comments

  1. “That means if these 1300 apartments were instead of houses in greenfield areas, they would save nearly $200 million of bulk infrastructure required by the greenfields alternative.”

    And at the density that even Auranga has been designed for, they would save 86 hectares of farmland being ruined.

    1. Exactly! This is why building in and up, done properly with great transit, great streets, walkable and bikeable, with leafy public space is so urgent now.

      Adding more sprawl now is Climate Change denial; auto-dependant sprawl is frankly an unforgivable crime against the planet and all those on it.

        1. Indeed. With good recourse to the GPS, and examples of where property acquisition has been used for transport in the past. New priorities, using some of the same techniques that were used to achieve the old priorities.

          1. a bridge over the motorway and a public walkway thru takapuna golf course for example. Public walkways thru a golf course arent entirely new, shandon for example in lower hutt manages this.

    2. Also, low density properties don’t generate enough rates to pay for the maintenance of the roads and infrastructure required to develop them. They are effectively being subsidised forever.

  2. In theory, apartments near a transport hub are a fantastic idea but in this instance, being on an island surrounded by a 7 lane motorway that turns into a giant idling car park most mornings and evenings, a genuine mega busy “traffic sewer” as you call it of Taharoto and Northcote Roads and a bus station with 45-80 (minimum) per hour of big diesel motor buses either passing through or idling next door, will be not be pretty living, nor picturesque. Not unless the idea is one of being a place of last resort type living to try and alleviate Auckland’s accommodation issues.

    They could be called Monoxide Towers however to give prospective investors and dwellers some idea!

    1. But things can change fast. Buses can be electric. Sure, Council has to step up its pressure and set some far more ambitious targets for AT to achieve fleet electrification, with financial and other disincentives for failing to meet them. The traffic sewer needs road reallocation, and once that’s done, it’ll be faster and easier to use the other modes, so people will be able to leave their cars at home. Beautiful examples abound of how effective this is.

      As for the motorway, it needs a diet too. But first we have to stop NZTA from continuously widening it!

      The most important thing is to avoid putting homes in car dependent fringe areas, and the traffic this induces. And that can only be avoided by putting homes in transit-accessible more central areas. Like this plan does.

      1. The buses are the least of the issues to be fair but in any case look at the snap shot of the busway to see how inefficient buses are. Not including the pair parked, probably idling, 7 buses, 7 drivers, 7 diesel motors, coupled with transmissions and every other moving part a bus comprises of. All with a maximum life of 20 years and to be honest not very efficient in the last 10 years as the miles rack up. Yes a cheap option in the very short term but poor long term.

        This needs to be a priority rail link now light or heavy powered by electricity.

        1. Hybrid buses would make so much sense on the busway. They could run on diesel and be charging their batteries on the busway and run on electricity in the stations and city.

        2. 7 buses, 7 drivers, 7 diesel motors…

          Yes, but still doing the work of about 400 cars. Let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

          1. I’m saying lets not be good ol’ Aucklanders and accept the crumbs they throw us because its got us to where we are at this time, carmagedon.

            Government can control what fuels PT easily, we should demand clean energy because this government has talked a storm about climate change!

          2. Replacing 400 cars with seven buses is far, far more clean than replacing seven diesel buses with seven electric ones.

            If anything, we should focus on far more diesel bus route and running way improvements before bothering to accelerate the electrification process.

            To be honest converting all 1,100 buses in Auckland to electric overnight would do one tenth of 1% of fuck all, while the remaining 900,000 cars and trucks out there remain fossil fuel burning.

            There are way better ways to spend our money and effort.

          3. I never suggested converting buses to electric, buses are a waste of time. What I did say was convert to rail and run high capacity trains for example with a crew of two replaces several buses in one hit, over and over.

            But Nick, you’re right, just accept what we are given and live with it and continue to debate why we have gridlock.

        3. ‘This needs to be a priority rail link now light or heavy powered by electricity.’
          Has the busway become so successful that it would be impossible to change it to a Light Railway. Just the major works involved would mean major disruption, chaos and peak mega congestion
          The best forward solution may be to establish a new railway in its own corridor

          1. It certainly wont be easy but the lack of alternative corridors and the existing station infrastructure will probably mean we have to take the hit at some point. The biggest challenge will be Rosedale and Sunnynook stations as they are not near motorway offramps.

            There might need to be more than one running pattern during construction to ensure all stations have access to buses that can use the motorway shoulders for most of the journey.

          2. By the time it’s built the population will be much greater and the disruption too big. Tunneling costs are falling relatively over time so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a tunneled metro line built like Sydney is now doing.

          3. AKLDUDE – I hadn’t realised they were doing so much tunneling on the suburban section of Sydney Metro, it’s quite impressive.

            I agree that things will have changed a lot in another 10 years when this discussion really starts to happen. It might end up being a mixture of tunnel and surface depending on the impact on certain sections.

          4. Here’s how I would do it:
            1) build the rail up to Akoranga and Takapuna, busway continues on the motorway shoulders from Akoranga to the city much as it does today.
            2) Paint bus lanes back onto the motorway shoulders, and on the full length of east coast road, Forrest Hill Rd and taharoto road.
            3) Close the busway from Albany to Akoranga, run a mitigation bus service where the lower north shore routes feed to Akonranga, the east coast bays feed down to takapuna. They sort of do this already.
            4) Keep the ‘bus’ half of the interchange stations operational for buses, using some of the parking space for temporary stops and shelters. Run a mitigation pattern of buses from Albany, Constellation and Smales Farm direct to and from the city centre via motorway shoulders, complemented by an all stops service between the stations via East Coast Road.

            If you build the rail out to Takapuna via Akoranga as stage 1, you can get that built and commissioned without much impact on the busway in parallel. Prepatory works for the busway happen at the same time with minor closures and temporarily diversions. They you do the following steps for a big shut down, working around the clock with three shifts a day for six months to finish the remaining section.

          5. See the discussions a few posts back Re: Light Rail.
            To me it makes more sense to build that as a metro which can then connect across the harbour, and (for argument sake) include stations all the way to Albany. Then you have a metro line running from Albany in the north all the way to Auckland Airport as a seamless transport mode. And by the time the southern part of the line is constructed, the demand for expanding across the harbour will be justified.

          6. Sounds a pretty good plan Nick R. I wonder to save on ever reclaiming land around about between Onewa & Akoranga, it ends up better to tunnel at some stage from about Onewa if not across the whole of the harbour to somewhere between Akoranga & Takupuna?

    2. “mega busy”
      Most of the time it’s mega empty, including at most peak times. The part that if most reliable busy is between Northcote Rd and Shakespeare Rd in the morning peak as people try to get to the motorway. Other parts can be busy but not on a reliable basis.

      1. Matt, I know this area too and its probably gridlocked as I type, its awful most weekday mornings and evenings and around school starting and finishing time.

        1. So with all those people congesting the public space with their private inefficient transport vehicles, things have to change. We need bus lanes and cycle lanes on those roads. Think not what it is, but what it could be if the right steps were taken. Progress isn’t always in the order we want it to be.

          1. I totally agree but knowing Auckland as I have seen this over and over the years, the best our authorities can ever come up with as an alternative to cars is an extra number 7 bus, type of thing, job done! Oh my God it does my head in. On my route for example after years of over crowded peak buses was an extra 2 peak services and this was like sending man to the moon for AT. And even then the bloody originating stop in Auckland’s CBD is so small it can barely cope with that. This does not want to make me sell up my motor vehicles.

            We need to think BIG, not piss around with buses adding to the unattractiveness of the alternatives. Make the alternative so good it can’t be ignored!

            Anyway the flats at Smales, cool idea but for a budget price to reflect the reality of their environment!

          2. Yip, so light rail will be great. And which way will be the easier route to get there?

            Enthusiastically responding to plans to increase housing where people can be connected by transit, but where cars do still dominate. This which will increase pressure to upgrade to light rail and to civilise the local roads by reducing the car dominance, and will ensure the car movements of the new residents will present about as small a contribution to the city’s traffic as anything else possible at present, or

            Criticise the proposal, giving wings to NIMBYs, on the basis that the light rail should come first. Watch as the proposal gets refused, the housing gets put on 86 ha on the fringe instead, and all those residents hop in their cars and make our city worse. Furthermore, the pressure from them to widen the motorways will be strong.

            Be inspired, Waspman.

          3. Heidi, just thinking bigger picture. Too many cars, not much being done about situation normal to change it. I’m not against residential there, its just in a rather industrial location at a motorway main arterial junction that will remain that way while we continue the thought process of adding an extra bus here and there as if that will change much.

          4. Further to that, how do we make residential areas near these bus stations more livable? Cut down the amount of cars going by is the simple answer. Creating residential areas like this is but one strand of doing that but not particularly pleasant living with that next to you whilst we do next to nothing about the cars going by.

            The thing Auckland always does is the alternative the authorities give is very half arsed. If we as a city bite the bullet and roll out rapid mass transport that is attractive that should end the waste of spending money on motorways and roads. But I just can’t see it the way we are going. There is a worsening situation further north like a dam bursting with cars north of Constellation Drive, namely the Hibiscus Coast. It is getting built and there is no stopping it. And again we are not offering a decent alternative to private motor vehicles. Which goes back to what I am saying, living in a place that like that may suit some but it none too pleasant until we address the elephant in the room, our base PT model.

          5. When Stephen Joyce dreams he dreams of the Katy Freeway and having a share holding in the roading companies that built it 🙂

            I kind of question whether alternatives to driving create more driving as per the article. And multi model maybe if the Skypath or under harbour tunnel is created but if people have to get to work in one part of Auckland over the bridge then they have to get there so multi model may work in Taharoto Rd etc, but only of there is a way of traversing the harbour quickly and efficiently. In other words the alternatives are in place already.

            But my thoughts are the public spend should be providing excellent alternatives to cars and that is where the budget goes, not into roading. Why not take a lane from SH1 and turn it into an alternative lane for trains/LRT or whatever.

            Millwater and whatever its twin is in Orewa (Millbrook?) is but one of many big subdivisions. SH1 to come to a grinding halt at Oteha Valley on a normal Saturday southbound in no small part because of the Millbrooks of this world. And SH1’s motorway extension to Silverdale and beyond, custom made this nightmare.

            And the road building lobby are whining at the moment as the big projects undertaken by National on our behalf will be completed in the next few years. Can we not realign them to the alternatives rather than the black hole of highways? That includes using that civil engineering capability to prep land for apartments strategically located.

    3. I would think that connectivity to not only main roads but dedicated public transport would tick the ideal boxes for residential apartment development.
      But hey I suppose there’s always some negative people out there. I’m pretty sure that residents there would be safer from Carbon monoxide than most people in Auckland’s CBD.

      My only question is whether there’s also any plans to increase the capacity of Westlake girls & Westlake boys high schools and the north shore hospital to deal with the increase in local population. Or if there’s any plans for any new school.

        1. Oh well I suppose it’s probably not that big a deal then.

          The other thing is that the council needs to ensure that the developers have some sort of local retail amongst the development for the residents. Preferably at least a small supermarket, a chemists and some sort of eatery.

          1. A dining precinct – The Goodside at Smales Farm – recently opened up there with about 7 or 8 eateries so at least that’s already taken care of. I agree that a small supermarket and a chemist would be good there too.

          2. I haven’t even driven past Smales farm (aside form the motorway if that counts) in years so thanks for the information.
            This goodside looks pretty good on their website: https://goodside.co.nz

            You’d still need some sort of supermarket that’s open until late though. You’d probably also want a gymnasium there. A swimming pool’s asking for too much though.

            But yup if increase in school rolls and hospital capacity is accounted for thenI don’t see any downside to this.

        2. Agree to that. Apparently there are dedicated buses taking kids from west auckland to north shore public schools. Surely that practice has to stop – a poor allocation of tax payer resources. But agree with Waspman too, residential at Smales would have to be cheap to be appealing i.e. it is not appealing.

    4. Plenty of people in London live within spitting distances of the mainline terminals, large junctions like Clapham, above ground Tube Stations and bus stops, I lived beside main line north, you get used to the trains very quickly. So what makes us so precious that we can’t do the same?

  3. It’s scary seeing so much green in those pictures of the stations, yet lots of political parties are so keen to get rid of Urban boundaries citing lack of space in Auckland to build.

    @Waspman – I’d take an apartment in Smales Farm to a standalone house in Pukehoke or Pokeno, rather quick to condemn people actually having housing choices aren’t ya! Once converted to LRT with a spur to Takapuna I think it would become a very efficient place to live.

    1. Joe, I probably would if the options were the far flung parts of Auckland too, but things are getting desperate living in that environment. 100% agreed with the LRT .

      1. “getting desperate” how exactly? Honest question here: What are you talking about?!

        You’re in convenient proximity to both the Auckland CBD and the Takapuna town centre and with not only excellent road connectivity but a busway station right there. You’re not at all far (walking distance) to plenty of greenspaces/parks and even the beach and the nice windsurfing lake near there (I forget what it’s called). You’re within walking distance of the hospital and schools (if you want to raise a family). And you’d get inspiring views of the surrounding area with Waitemata harbour, nice suburbs, etc.

        How would this would be an IDEAL place to live?! Oh that’s right; this total nonsense about “carbon monoxide”…

        1. Daniel, that read like a Ray White brochure.

          Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and purchase an upper level unit facing south, gaining inspirational views, sounds and smells of the State Highway 1 – Northcote interchange. Please!

          1. Hahahaha if I was living in Auckland and I saw it on the market; I’d love to bid for one of those apartments!
            Why on earth would I not? Everything would be convenient for me, I’d get great inspiring views, I wouldn’t have to go through the arseache of mowing the lawn, painting the house, depending on an automobile, etc anymore.

            Do you hear and smell the motorway from any buildings near the motorway in Auckland’s CBD? Nope. Nor Wellington’s CBD for that matter. So what is with this total nonsense you’re coming out with? Are you just trying to fabricate some non-point?
            Even in a near impossible scenario that these apartments aren’t going to have proper sealing and air-conditioning; you’re going to be immune from the exhaust from that far back from the road and you’re not going to hear much either, maybe the same general hum you hear… …near any major road.

            Do know what I think? I think you’re one of these people whom, for whatever reason (if there even was one), have decided that they just don’t like apartments. And it’s not enough for you to do what normal people do and just not give living in one a chance for yourself: You’ve got some tolerance issue where you can’t handle anyone else daring to live in one either despite it not affecting your life in any way. No exceptions.
            And in the face of an apartment development that you struggle to find any reason to dislike; you’ve had to come out with some total fabricated rubbish about “exhaust fumes” to try and justify yourself.

          2. You clearly have never tried that before.

            So let me spoil that for you.

            You clearly have no idea of all the stupid things you’re allowed to do here. Trucks use their engine brakes in the CBD. You can put aftermarket exhaust on your crappy old car to make it sound more, um… loud. You can ride motorcycles with straight exhaust pipes.

            You are not just going to hear the traffic. It is going to be loud enough to drown out conversation. Even on the upper floors of those high rises.

          3. Yeah I’m sure that those business meetings in those commercial towers are always getting interrupted by the noise of traffic (en sarc).

            What malfunction in character or psychology do you suffer in attempting to stick to talking this complete and utter ridiculous, straw clutching rubbish?

            It’s not as if building residential apartment towers like this are some unknown territory for mankind. You only need to go over t Australia to see what a pitiful red herring this is.

            Just admit it: You’re I have no valid grounds for opposing this.

          4. No malfunction — just the experience of actually living in one of those apartments.

            Having properly built apartments at Smales farm, with surroundings which actually support living in an apartments, would be great. I agree 100% with that. But I do not have a lot of confidence it will happen. This is very much still unknown territory for New Zealand.

            Case in point: “Even in a near impossible scenario that these apartments aren’t going to have proper sealing and air-conditioning” → bingo, that is exactly how many of them were built. Some do not have any insulation between units either. You really, clearly, have never lived in an apartment over here.

          5. Oh okay (alleged) anecdotes and speculation. That’s actually the best you’ve got.

            You’d better go and warn all those people who already work in offices even closer to the Motorway in Auckland and Wellington about this noise and exhaust fume pollution they’ve been experiencing all this time…

          6. Well you’ve got nothing — not even a single anecdote — since you don’t even live in Auckland.

            Where do you live anyway? I am well aware that in many other cities nobody would bat an eyelid at something like this. And where apartments would make a perfectly decent place to live.

            And also it’s perfectly OK to be passionate about apartments. It’s just really uncanny if you at the same time have such a complete lack of understanding of the reality on the ground over here.

          7. Agree with Waspman, Smales would not be a great spot to live but, as they say, “there is a price for everything”.

          8. (*stunned face*)
            Nah, I don’t have anything. Only the fact (you somehow can’t face) that people already work everyday not only at this very same Smales farm, but in places even closer to the actual motorway. And some people even live in these other places. C’mon, go and tell them how they’re conducting business everyday and living everyday while being subjected to noise and air pollution. Hahahaha “lack of understanding”.

            Oh FYI and I have lived in Auckland before. Believe it or not; people do actually live in more than one city (even country) in their lifetimes.

            And how am I “passionate” about anything? I’m just calling out some complete contrived nonsense….

          9. “Smales would not be a great spot to live”

            And… …why not?

            “Price for everything”

            Yeah. Like those crappy detached pine weatherboard houses already blighting Auckland and valued at over 1 million. What an embarrassment….

        2. Daniel, I forgot to add if you purchased such an apartment in that general southerly position you could, if you are lucky, be inspired by the Esmonde Rd/SH1 interchange as well . A sight of man made awesomeness and tranquility, especially when cars are bumper to bumper in the morning.

          1. LOL yeah that would be something great to look at on the occasion I decided to look down. A bit like watching the ships/boats on the harbour. Thanks for illustrating my point.

          2. Different people look for different things when buying (usually!!!) price reflects that. So if you want to get onto the property ladder and views aren’t your redline in terms of buying, then surely a development like this is a good option…isn’t having options the key here. Nobody is forcing anyone to live there, but at least people have a choice…rather than expensive McMansions.

            You can’t argue for Climate Change action, then deride apartments next to a Transport Hub..all because of history! Would be worth asking the people who have just moved into the apartments in Newmarket just next to the viaduct motorway how they are getting on.

            What a nonsensical discussion this really is!

          3. Read ALL my comments Joe and let me know where I deride apartments.

            My issue has always been putting a large residential building next to a main urban arterial and a 7 lane motorway and an interchange does not make for pleasant surroundings to live, IF, the status quo of our crappy alternative to cars PT system remains to ensure the traffic sewers surrounding it remain.

            That’s it, but if they were budget aimed in this era of housing problems then maybe it will work.

            And let’s not begin to consider how this country seems to be unable to build anything of any durable quality, especially it seems in apartment construction!

          4. Yes.

            Rent an apartment on Hobson Street and you’ll quickly figure out why some are sceptical or cynical about apartments. Even worse than the buildings itself, we are unable to create viable surroundings for the apartments.

            Will Taharoto road be overhauled? Maybe. I certainly hope so. But hope by itself will not allow your kids to get around on a bicycle. On Hobson Street we got nothing at all after all those years, not even a little basic maintenance on the footpath.

            The underlying issue is the contrast with more desirable areas, which are invariably locked down to single houses, and where Thou Shalt Not Build Apartments. So apartments always go to the shitty areas nobody else wants. We have to get out of that pattern. I would not call this nonsensical.

          5. I concur Roeland, and as suggested by someone else here, Eden Park would be perfect, nice area, close to very good PT but aimed at average people, not the well off.

          6. “Rent an apartment on Hobson Street and you’ll quickly figure out why some are sceptical or cynical about apartments.”

            How about you tell us. Exactly why is it that you’re cynical about something that most people have no trouble with around the world?

            “viable surroundings”
            Which means what exactly?

            “The underlying issue is the contrast with more desirable areas, which are invariably locked down to single houses, and where Thou Shalt Not Build Apartments. So apartments always go to the shitty areas nobody else wants.”
            LOL what are you talking about?
            The opposite is true: Apartments usually get built because they’re the most desirable places! Because more and more people really want to live there. And it’s often tied-in with their land value!
            What developer would build apartments where nobody wants to live?! It makes no logical sense.

          7. Seeing as Wastlake girls high is closer to this motorway than these apartments will be; will Waspman alert everyone to how the girls studying there and staff teaching them have been subjected to carbon monoxide and excessive noise for all these decades?

          8. Complaints about the multiple aspects to good living conditions that have been raised in this conversation – eg fumes and noise from traffic, poor pedestrian safety in surrounding roads, etc – all need attention. But I think we could safely say that everyone in this thread is actually on the same page that these changes need to happen, and that the TOD needs to happen to prevent sprawl and to increase liveability. Probably in our common interests to move forward advocating together…

          9. Daniel – you’re not quite correct there. Apartments get built because the area is desirable AND council regulations allow them to be built. There are plenty of locations that are probably more desirable where apartments are not allowed.

            I agree though if the demand is there I can’t see any reason for them not to be built.

  4. Good plans – Council and Local Boards please adopt this, and hopefully the resource consent process is not too painful for the applicant. Mixed use development (avoiding heavy industry), with great transport options is exactly what this city needs more of.

  5. The Devonport-Takapuna Local Board has an opportunity to change its reputation tomorrow. I hope they remember the effects that come with allowing a zone change like this. Every home that can be located in transit-accessible places means:

    – a household that doesn’t suffer stressful commutes from the fringes
    – cars not being driven on the motorway system bringing commuters in from car dependent fringe areas
    – cars not being driven on our local roads circling for parking, parking illegally, finding rat runs, contributing to danger for vulnerable users
    – a household of people who will support progressive moves for better and safer pedestrian amenity around town

    1. A large percentage of the residents living in those apartments would still have a car. Where do they park? Whilst buses are good at getting you from A to B (work to home & reverse), they are terrible for A to B to C to D etc. Add in kids their after school activities & gear, its not easy to get around the north shore as it is some days.

      1. People certainly do feel dependent on their cars. We’ve plenty of work to do, because that’s just no good, is it? Imagine being the child without a chauffeur parent?

        1. How do you take kids to after school activities on public transport? I also wouldn’t fancy lugging my weekly grocery shopping from any of the close but not walking distance supermarkets either. Besides these apartments will all have under ground parking, it would be expected.

          1. I don’t think I ever got taken to an after school activity by my parents, I’d usually just ride my bike. The problem is we have let our city develop so that isn’t really possible anymore.

            If they are dependent on you driving then you are basically tied to being their chauffeur until they are 17, with good biking and PT options they can be free at a much younger age.

            As for groceries if that became the only reason to have a car then you could probably get a delivery every few hours for the cost of owning a car.

          2. @Masterchief – Putting these apartments aside (by the time they are built most of the below will be even more prevalent), you’re talking about and world for today, or in most other countries would be considered the past. The children of today grow up knowing ride sharing, personal mobility, grocery delivery, Uber Eats rah rah rah..and then soon, Drone deliveries, Autonomous transport both personal and public..the world you describe isn’t one we should plan for or worry too much about, its days are very numbered. They will car pool with friends to school activities or ride good Public transport, they will get the things they need delivered rather than pushing a trolley around a supermarket…none of this is even new tech, I use all of the above (minus the Drones haha) on a daily basis and I’m in my mid 30’s.

          3. Apartments close to transit hubs would be expected to have a much lower carpark to dwelling ratio now. For example, On Point in Pt Chevalier will have 11 carparks for 33 apartments. Done well, there would be some share cars, like CityHop, and some shared spaces you can book for your rental car or visitor parking, and a few carparks rented to whoever values having their own. An area like this needs streetscape changes so the bulk of local trips can be done cycling and walking.

      2. Or Dianne, you think that they will have a car. I work with a number of young people who simply don’t own vehicles. There is an apartment block about to be constructed in Takapuna with space for just three cars. As the price of carbon becomes more expensive habits will change. As the effects of climate change begin to worsen attitudes to car ownership will change.
        I don’t accept that everyone will own a car as these apartments will be well connected to many places.

        1. Living without a car is fine until you decide to have children and you change tune quickly. BEV’s and hydrogen vehicles will eventually take over so the carbon issue goes out the window.

          1. Unless the opposite happens, and concern for the children’s future shapes a different set of habits, including getting rid of the car. I’ve seen both scenarios pan out.

          2. Once upon a time…
            …automobiles weren’t common. The vast majority of the hoi polloi didn’t have them.
            These were also the times when more people got married and had children. And this was also when most households didn’t have television. Yet somehow not only did everyone manage but children apparently did a lot more after school activities.

          3. I imagine they did a lot more after school activity… not necessarily activities… 🙂

            More importantly, the benefits of restricting what my children did to what we could get to by walking, biking and using public transport, developed
            – an ability to get around town independently
            – an ability to critically consider choice of activity within a larger framework
            – better understanding of local geography and environment
            – more social connections with local people
            – understanding of the facilities just in our area, and the largely volunteer effort that goes into maintaining them,
            – better fitness and coordination
            – one area of our lives at least, in which I’m not seen as the servant to my kids.

            To feel restricted to using the car to get children to afterschool activities is called car dependency. It’s a realistic feeling in plenty of areas of Auckland, due to the lack of safe pedestrian amenity. So perhaps a key performance measure in AT should be number of households where 8 year olds can get to any afterschool activity safely within a 5 km radius.

          4. Once upon a time before I was born…

            Kids just played on the streets.

            Kids were free to roam for kilometres. Just be back home for dinner.

            When I was a kid I could cycle to primary school for 5 kilometres. Nobody would bat an eyelid. Nobody would think my parents were bad or irresponsible for letting me do that.

            Now here in New Zealand, I’m an adult cycling 5 kilometres to work. That will be unsettling to a few people. “Whoa. I would not cycle here”.

            Different, time, different place.

            And restricting what my children did to what we could get to [without car] → it would be nice if I can pull that off. Just hope there will be something, just anything, beyond just your backyard (if you have any!). In the city centre you’re completely screwed. No backyard, no courtyard (parking does not count), no pedestrian amenity.

            The devil will be in the details. How is the space between buildings used? Will it at least partially be car free? Is anyone going to think about eg. how you would ride a bicycle to slightly further away things like the beach or Onepoto Domain?

  6. I’m reluctant to re-purpose open green space into housing everywhere in the city. We barely have enough sports field today, let alone accruing for growth. Why not re-purpose green space into green space? Lloyd Elsmore Park servces a community function as well as preserving green space in the area. It seems like a good model that could be made even better on the Shore given the proximity to the Busway.

    1. Why not repurpose some of the green space as better green space? The gold course is huge.

      And you do accept not repurposing this space consigns green space somwhere else (probably a much larger area) to development? That or higher house prices.

      No such thing as free green space.

      1. Yes, the golf course is huge. But having the space set aside allows for much greater intensification around it, rather than just a total free-for-all with little to no community amenities. I’m not saying *don’t intensify*, I’m saying “set aside the sports and community facilities that should be next to a rapid transit link now so you can really go to town when you *do* intensify”.

        1. Agree. Let’s start with turning the council-owned golf course from a private, user-pays space into a community, free access one.

          1. Green fees in NZ are cheap as chips, anyone can play golf, it’s one of the biggest participation sports in NZ. Why limit people’s access to golf courses?

          2. It may well be one of the biggest participation sports in NZ but I suspect it’s probably one of the worst performing sports in terms of participation rate vs space required to play. Also while it might be relatively popular the majority of the population do not participate.

            Space hungry recreational activities should be on the edge of the city not in the middle, it’s far easier for a few golfers to drive to the edge of the city once a week, than thousands of commuters travel around the golf course every day.

          3. “Why limit people’s access to golf courses?”

            Because of the huge subsidy and massive urban land requirements? Let’s not forget one golf course takes up the same land a forty rugby or soccer fields.

            There is a simple answer here, divest from the inner urban golf courses for local parks, housing and community infrastructure, and have the golf courses on the rural fringe instead. With much cheaper land that means less subsidy, and cheaper green fees, and its not taking up huge amounts of land that is best suited for homes.

            Is it not crazy that we have these golf courses, each the size of a small town, occupying urban land inside the city while we bulldoze farms and bush to build suburban sprawl at the edge?

          4. So if space hungry recreation facilities are city outer edge located then getting there is another reason to own a vehicle.

          5. MikeP – yes, if you are into golf you will probably continue to own a vehicle, but of course the majority of people are not into golf. I doubt there are many golfers that currently use PT to get to the inner city courses anyway.

            The benefit of having the houses near PT hubs instead of golf courses it allows many more people to reduce their car use.

    2. Golf courses are like holders for what green space we might need in the future. Whatever you think about golf, we might need that space in future when our energy needs are different, for recreation (and even food-growing) space within the city that can be accessed without a car.

      The more resistance there is to intensification on areas that are already developed, the more green spaces within the city will be turned into housing. We need to focus on the at-grade carparks, the no longer fit-for-purpose warehousing, the single storey big box retail swimming in car infrastructure, the polluted sites … all that stuff needs to be shifted to high-density housing, and regenerated with green infrastructure.

      So we’ll see what the local board does tomorrow. If they don’t even allow the paved areas to be repurposed, they’re essentially saying they’d prefer to spoil green spaces, within and on the edges of the city.

      1. Our recreational green spaces are going to have work a lot harder for the growing urban population. Single use green spaces, like golf but not golf alone, are going to have to be re-purposed to allow multiple types of activities to occur. We just won’t have the luxury of one sport/activity to one park!
        And yes, as ageing, obsolete buildings are demolished, if there is a need – and there will be, allow for new multi-purpose open spaces!

    3. What green space is being repurposed with this? They’re developing a business park.

      And how is Auckland not awash with sports fields anyway?

  7. I really like this idea and with so many schools in the area I’d be really interested to see who they would be marketing to. The only thing is that the area around Smales farm is sort of exposed with busy toads/ motorways surrounding the area, and heaps of empty space. I think I’d like to see some of that green space belonging to the residents, with more development of a community where families could live, right next to school, with the busway to get to work and uni. Better accessibility by walking/ cycling to the schools and Takapuna as well.

    1. Agree. This is an exciting proposal with lots of potential. It looks like there is some shared space on the roofs of the apartments, create some great green space which is contained between buildings rather than next to the roads with spaces to sit, plant and play could make this a really great development. Everything on your doorstep.

  8. I can’t think of any reason to not allow this. But I’m sure the council will think of something. It might ruin somebody’s view of a mountain or something.

  9. Taking the track record of that local board into consideration I’m not sure if they’ll allow for this. If the owners were seeking to add 1300 parking spaces I’m sure that’d be much easier.

    1. 1300 apartment dwellers. They might all be Labour supporters or green…. best to stick with heritage villas and 4-5 bed infill housing. KEEP the North Shore Blue!!! Huh, they’ll be suggesting social housing on the Shore next.

    2. Exactly. D-T Local Board is the laziest most reactionary board in Auckland. That from poeple who work at AT and the Council.

      It needs a complete clean out but anyone under 65 in that area is too busy trying to pay the mortgage to stand for local board.

  10. Pretty courageous to propose developing that many apartments as our residential market is cooling fast.

    My bet is the banks simply won’t fund this.

  11. I’ll believe they are truly becoming pedestrian friendly when they stop adding at grade car parking along every stretch of street frontage.

    The Boulevard used to have short-term parking on just the one side, in front of the shops, then as part of the recent construction they added parking on the other side of the road AND ripped out the median and it’s water feature (admittedly a pretty rubbish water feature) and put more parking there in the middle of the road. They also built the Goodside building back from the street frontage to allow them to fit further at grade parking in in front of it, separating the building and outdoor dining area from the public realm.

    They have definitely made some improvements but I’m not sure they either fully understand or are fully committed to a properly pedestrian friendly area. Hopefully this can be addressed through any plan change.

  12. ” I’d take an apartment in Smales Farm to a standalone house in Pukehoke or Pokeno, ”

    I’ll take a house in Pokeno because it is not in Auckland.

    1. You’re right, it’s not in Auckland. There were a number of new residents complaining about that a while ago as they discovered how high rates are in the Waikato District.

  13. Great example of how quality rapid transit drives land use, with a lag of course.

    After refurbished rolling stock, Britomart, and the Central Connector, the Northern Busway deserves credit for keeping Auckland’s PT transformation going in the period from 2006 to 2010 when not much else was happening (pre core network upgrade and EMUS etc).

    1. Exactly. Build it new not because of existing demand, but in order to create demand, f the right kind. Our transport funding processes are backwards.

    2. Do you think the lag would have been shorter if it had been rail rather than bus? I keep hearing people say light rail drives intensification around it, but BRT less so. But I don’t know if that’s actually true or not.

  14. Yes this would be a smart thing to do. As you point out there are a few other things which need to change before it becomes viable though. Otherwise it will be just reproducing the crappy situation (some go as far as calling it a slum) in the CBD.

    One hint is to look at the retirement village on the corner of Taharoto Road and Shakespeare Road. In a functioning urban area, street corners are valued because 2 streams of traffic intersect.

    How does the retirement village interact with that street corner? It doesn’t, and for good reason.

  15. This looks like a great development because of its proximity to public transport; the developing facilities at Smales Farm; and the relative closeness to the North Shore Leisure centre and Pak n Save.

    The development so far has been to a high standard with little to suggest that apartment buildings will be any different. It is very noticeable that Smales Farm commercial space seems to have developed at the expense of development in Takapuna.

    As you rightly say Matt, it is indeed sensible to look over the motorway at the vastly underused golf course and muse, why not apartments here?

      1. Well that was about time.

        I made it to Albany a few weeks ago. It is a strange place. The bus station is somewhere in a forgotten corner. Around it is a street grid, with many blocks with only grass in between.

        Hint to council: Grass does not complain if you pre-emptively decide to make some of these streets car free.

  16. Extending the overhead pedestrian bridge right across the M Way at this stage would be a good move, to open up Smales to foot traffic from the other side. It would be nice to walk across the golf course in the morning on the way to catch the bus to work.

  17. Remember a bike way/walking track like around Westhaven is hopefully coming soon, with the tube over the bridge,(Which needs to be here now, so Idea being on the bike @ Smales down the bike way (built to Barrys point road now) then over the bridge Via tube (also continuing the bike track around to join up with the Devonport track, its the bikes and the weekends and those 2-3 hrs at night. Of course the walking track on golf course needs to be studied to make the track like Westhaven meet up with the Smales-Barrys Point track, so both sides of Motorway are covered, By the way go up to Albany, check out the new bridge for walkers/bikers, O we now have the plans already done, looking at that bridge, we could make 3-4 of them for this project encompassing Smales/Golf/ Barrys point /devonport incidentally the track to the bridge from Barrys point needs to be done now too

  18. I think this is a huge move in the right direction,
    Always thought smales farm should had been residential from the beginning.
    It would be good to see something done with that golf course as there is 1 in greenhive and another in Devonport. It is begging for medium to high density residential development and some could be left aside for a park, plus A new road from sunnybrae over the golf course and motorway would be nice.
    There is also an even larger area around akoranga bus station, some of it is school fields.
    But it’s there and all just a short walk to Takapuna and it’s beach.
    In regards to electrification of buses and rail.
    I think that horse has bolted for rail (light or heavy)
    Plus the main reason for the Busways popularity is it’s frequent service.
    every 2 minutes, no train could compete with that.
    Plus there is the poor design of the Busway extension to Albany.
    Which has cemented it as a Busway for many decades to come, we could look forward to electric buses soon though.

    1. Its cemented the busway to its hopeless limitations only if we accept that its all too hard to have anything better.

      Every two minutes but only because the maximum a double decker bus can hold is 80 persons per bus per driver at 80 km/hr not including the very slow acceleration. ANd there are little things like driver shortages that seem to limit our growth too.

      Versus the EMU, max speed 110 km/hr only because the current network limits them to that yet the busway is near straight and could be very quick. EMU, 3 car =, 373 passengers max load per driver and train manager or 746 for a 6 car or 1119 for a 9 car, if the platforms were long enough to cope, again, 1 driver. That moves a lot of people very quickly all using renewable electricity.

      That kind of urban transport would should demand and it would stop the farce that is the northern part of our gridlocked city. And I heard all the arguments for not building the bus way back in the day as well.

      We are being held back to the stone age, or the 1950’s because of the very limited choices made for us via the choice of PT vehicle we use.

    2. Maybe people should come and have a long look at the North Shore, golf courses are Devonport ,Takapuna,Albany and East Coast rd between Forrest Hill and Campbell’s Bay as for Albany there is a lot more to Albany than the shopping mall area which is poorly laid out and unfurnished development the area is changing for the better,removal of car parks hooton reserve car park number 3 is now a new bmx track ,stadium car parking replaced by a public swimming pool ,car parking behind the Albany pub is now appartments with more being built now .maybe some people should come over the bridge and look around before commenting about an area they know very little about.

  19. In addition to Smales, these at grade carparks and single storey retail can become mixed use with housing above.

    https://www.google.com/maps/@-36.7918882,174.7477129,657m/data=!3m1!1e3
    https://www.google.com/maps/@-36.7825453,174.7415466,784m/data=!3m1!1e3

    Then there’s all the standalone housing that needs to go up to multistorey. And if there are barriers due to private ownership, this needs to be tackled. Let’s leave the green stuff alone until at least the barriers to doing the other stuff have been broken down.

    1. Ha, I can make lots of disparaging comments about these two images.

      The second one shows the moronically called “North Shore Event Centre”. Pretty close to Smales Farm as the crow flies, yet unreachable by bus. Every time there is an event of any scale you get this gnarly mass of people trying to park anywhere nearby.

      The rest of the land, I guess we need “cheap land for businesses to flourish”. So we can have our dozens and dozens of panel beaters, tyre workshops, WOF centres, and other kinds of car workshops I didn’t even know existed. We must have the highest amount of car workshops per capita in the world.

      Also of note is the location of the Tai Ping supermarket. Walk up catchment has zero population. You cannot cross that block towards the north in any way, which is a PITA if you want to catch a bus on Archers Road.

      The parking lot at the bottom of the fist one has the usual anti-pattern of “reserving” a couple of parking spots for each business. If you expect me to move my car instead of just walking to the next shop you can bugger off. Luckily this one has also pay and display spots so bring coins.

      Note the businesses which actually take advantage of street corners — fuel stations. 2 of them.

      Zoom out for an impression of just how large a golf course it — it absolutely dwarfs Smales Farm.

      1. No mocking the panelbeaters now. I heard recently that Morningside’s special panelbeater je ne sais quoi atmosphere was enough to warrant protection from housing development… wtf, eh? You may like your cider or your latte, your brass band or your chamber orchestra, but panel beaters have an equivalent, fragile culture that needs special protection. Get it? Hopefully this is all water under the bridge, but it does show what we’re dealing with.

  20. Great idea. I’d like to see it taken further with even bigger towers. Once you’re building a tower like that the costs difference between 60m and 100-150m relative to returns is negligible if not positive. So you get much better use out of a fixed area of land. Especially if you consider this is potentially taking away land that could be used for business you have to make it worthwhile.

    1. “I’d like to see it taken further with even bigger towers”

      I thought the very same thing. It’s only a development consent application so I thought they would have gone for higher and then developed for what the market would buy, up to that maximum.

      The view up high must be fantastic given its not that far from the coast.

    2. “I’d like to see it taken further with even bigger towers.”

      No thanks. There’s not many things more unappealing than a few towers jutting out into the skyline of suburbia of detached housing. I thought that the towers they’re building if anything look too intrusive.

      1. Daniel
        The view towards Smales will be exactly the same as to Takapuna i.e. Spencer on Byron, Sentinel etc.

        How will the height compare to any motorway interchanges that NZTA wants to build near Constellation?

        1. Those towers look over 10 stories high. I favour a list of 8 stories beyond the CBD.

          Although having said that: North shore hospital already has an imposing presence on the skyline around there anyway…

          1. I disagree. As hideous as McMansions are; I can’t see how they ruin anything beyond their immediate vicinity.

          2. Buts its not really suburbia. Not that spot. Its a business park and a busway station. Seems perfect for high level residential?

          3. “As hideous as McMansions are; I can’t see how they ruin anything beyond their immediate vicinity.”

            Urban form and thus access, social, psychological and public health, climate, three waters, equity…

          4. KLK: Towers like this jut-out into suburban skylines. It’s been shown to have negative consequences over the world.
            Isolated and insular NZ never learn form other nation’s errors….

          5. “It’s been shown to have negative consequences over the world.”

            Can you please cite some sources so I can read about these effects. I have lived in many cities with high rise towers and not noticed any catastrophic effects on society.

          6. http://www.crsi.mq.edu.au/public/download.jsp?id=10583

            And theres plenty more. Having a tall tower suddenly smacked in the middle of single story buildings has been established to cause wind funnels, block light/cast shadows, have imposing presences/ruin skylines, introduce traffic (not only vehicular) and many other negative things. this is why most countries decided to stop allowing them in the 70’s. All pretty much common sense.
            Hey, you can ignore that all you want. You’ll (re)discover it for yourself.

            They’re not even necessary. The housing shortage can be met with more sensible blocks of apartments that are 3-6 (8 maximum) stories.

          7. ‘this is why most countries decided to stop allowing them in the 70’s.’

            Most countries stopped high rise apartments? Or high rise apartments in Suburbs? Neither is remotely correct..

          8. Daniel Eyre says:
            February 19, 2019 at 5:46 pm
            I disagree. As hideous as McMansions are; I can’t see how they ruin anything beyond their immediate vicinity.

            Sorry, have you driven past Pokeno, or through Flat Bush? Its disgusting visually, decimating Green lands with cooker cutter, same roof pattern, for miles…

            Climate Change is real, so I think visual appeal is the least of our worries…upwards not outwards for Auckland..that includes your 8 story utopia AND high rises

          9. Daniel Eyre says:
            February 20, 2019 at 9:45 am
            http://www.crsi.mq.edu.au/public/download.jsp?id=10583

            And theres plenty more. Having a tall tower suddenly smacked in the middle of single story buildings has been established to cause wind funnels, block light/cast shadows, have imposing presences/ruin skylines, introduce traffic (not only vehicular) and many other negative things. this is why most countries decided to stop allowing them in the 70’s. All pretty much common sense.
            Hey, you can ignore that all you want. You’ll (re)discover it for yourself.

            Last one Daniel because you really are talking some nonsense…where in this development is the High Rise smacked in single story buildings? Infact, where in the Auckland UP does it allow this? Maybe you’ll redisover yourself if you ever LIVE in Auckland?

          10. I’ve picked up different viewpoints over the years… Some architects in Scandinavia want them banned for making their cities much colder (due to wind) than they already are. Scandinavia has harsh and dark winters.

            I certainly had the impression in the city centre that these apartments are the ultimate answer to the question of how do we engineer out any possibility of having social contact or communities. That was partially due to the building design itself. No ventilation system means you have to keep windows open, and then you can’t meet in hallways in the evening without keeping other people awake. You couldn’t meet in the courtyard because it was merely parking. And the surroundings, well, take a stroll on Hobson Street. Don’t twist your ankle in a pothole.

            On the other hand some high rises have some public spaces built in right into the building. Some back onto a park instead of onto a traffic sewer. Some minimal thought needs to go into how and where people living there would be able to meet each other.

            “blocks of apartments that are 3-6 stories” → I would guess they’re cheaper to build than high-rises but they are also mostly illegal in large swathes of our central suburbs.

          11. I seem to have trigger d an angry defence of towers from this Joe person. And who seems to think the rest of the world is limited to Australia (another country that ignores lessons the rest of the world learns).

            Stand alone Tower developments were put in suburbs all over Europe in the 50’s and especially the 60’s. How they didn’t turn out well is so well documented. And no not all were social housing, many were private developments.

            And no I’m not against residential towers per se. I just see the unnecessary idiocy of having them standing alone and sticking out in low rise suburbs where the infrastructure and general area has not been prepared for them. Obviously they make sense in already established CDB’s.

            Furthermore the idea that they negate climate change has been shown to be questionable many modern towers and especially towers that are stand alone. Not only have many with glass facades been proven to be very energy inefficient (glass has a high thermal conductivity so residents need to make usage of heating and aircon) but it’s been shown that people who live in isolated towers have to do extra amount of travelling.

            Yes I’m all for building up but to needs to be gradual. Why you’re so vehemently defending towers is either ill conceived and misguided or merely a bandwagon you’ve jumped on.

          12. I seem to have trigger d an angry defence of towers from this Joe person. And who seems to think the rest of the world is limited to Australia (another country that ignores lessons the rest of the world learns).

            Nothing angry about what I say, trust me 🙂

            Also you’ll find I was born in the UK including living in London, lived there for 20 odd years, have traveled to 45+ Countries some extensively for months at a time, including the majority of Alpha Cities around the world, especially Europe and the US, SE Asia etc..so please don’t imply that you know me, it’s ignorant at best.

            As everyone has pointed out, what exactly is your point? You keep talking about Skyscrapers in 1 story suburbs, none of that is being discussed here, so perhaps stick to the development in question and use the correct facts when talking about i.e its not in a lowrise suburb, its in a midrise business park with lots of surface parking next to a motorway

          13. For these high-rises from the 60s or 70 it was sometimes a case of buildings reaching their end of life, or buildings no longer complying with current regulations wrt insulation and being too expensive to retrofit.

            There are in fact 2 towers jotting out of an area in Ponsonby which is mostly single housing. They are easily visible from the Harbour Bridge. The weird part here however are not the towers, it is the part where so many of the other parcels still have an old single house on them.

      2. Because there aren’t already towers nearby Daniel? Smales Farm itself is several stories high, there’s the old power building around the corner that is also several levels. You have the hospital which is probably about 100m high. In Takapuna you have 4 towers that are over 100m tall too. Old houses in the area are regularly being removed and replaced with mid-rise too. Nothing special about the area, build up not out!

        1. “Several stories” is one thing. Those office bocks appear to be about 8 stories, with is fine.

          I don’t see the need for the residential towers to be so high and jutting out.

          The other issue is that the buildings in the architects sketch have cladding of glass windows, which is very energy inefficient.

          1. It’s a visualization, they haven’t even planned what they will build or have any resource consent..

            Also, what else do you have in Windows if not Glass? Glad Wrap?

          2. Really Daniel what’s your point; you don’t have to live in one, or are you saying you shouldn’t ever have to see a tall building? Really?

  21. “I also think this would only strengthen the case for a much needed overhaul of the horrific Taharoto Rd traffic sewer. The road provides a vital connection between Smales Farm and Takapuna which is only 2km away and needs a lot more space on its wide footprint dedicated to buses, bikes and pedestrians.”

    Matt, this is a very good point. I submitted on this when AT ran a consultation regarding the changes to the end of Karaka St and was told that my submission was noted.

    With the significant amount of high and medium rise happening around the Takapuna town centre consideration should be given to better public transport options heading north from there. While there is the bus lane to the city heading south, although currently under threat, buses to Akoranga and Smales are affected by morning and evening congestion.

    I have not used the existing bike lane, but it does not seem safe.

  22. Great concept.
    Now let’s bowl that dump Eden Park and create a beautifully master planned mid to high rise apartment community there, close to Kingsland station.

    1. Yes but don’t let the local resident nimbys off the hook, they have secured the demise of Eden Park by sticking to the letter of the regulations and they must die by that double-edged sword too. Any future development on that site must be just as large and imposing as the stadium, and should generate the same level of noise, traffic and pedestrian volumes as currently exists – perhaps mixed use including an open air concert venue. Yardstick for success is if Aunty Helen complains loudly and bitterly about it.

      1. Add a targeted levy for every house within 2km to help fund the replacement for the national stadium they drove out of the area, until it recovers the $100m Eden Park needed to stay open.

      2. “they have secured the demise of Eden Park by sticking to the letter of the regulations”

        The Eden Park Trust and all involved in its RWC2011 development made their bed and now they must lie in it. NZ240m for 5000 extra seats (capacity-wise) and the same restrictions on events such that it had little extra revenue earning capacity than it did pre-development.

        What was the BCR on that?

        Single handedly the dumbest infrastructure spending in NZ history. And that is saying something.

        1. We literally didn’t have a stadium that was eligible to host the final and the alternative was some pie-in-the-sky fantasy waterfront job that didn’t even have a design, let alone a feasibility study that could confirm it would be ready on time.

          The dumbest decision is playing out right now; the $90m+ to redevelop Western Springs into a ground that won’t have the capacity to host high-profile ODIs without ticket prices being jacked through the roof.

      1. So have Aucklanders gone off of Eden park or something?
        It’s a change if they have. I remember daring to point out how much it sucks 20-25 years ago and the reaction I got was as if I’d burned people’s houses down.

        1. It’s costing money as in they want $100m for upkeep. It is effectively blocked from hosting concerts or other events and due to its location isn’t very convenient for most people (you also can’t park nearby anymore, at least trains are improved). Crowds have been dropping too. Why go through all the hassle of going to the game when you can watch it (with a better view) from the comfort of home on your 65” tv?!

          Auckland has seen how successful an enclosed stadium can be (Dunedin and elsewhere like Cardiff). Provides a nicer experience with more atmosphere, is quieter for the neighbours, and isn’t affected by weather both for sport and other events. My Smart also needs to be replaced soon so the idea is to replace both with a large enclosed football stadium that will be used about 5x more than Eden Park, pay its way, draw more crowds and events.

          1. Eden park was always a Frankenstein’s monster of stadia with bits added here and there with incredible lack of insight as to how sitting in it to actually watch a spots event would be like.
            And it was always poorly located for a football stadium and not convenient to get to.

            The falling crowds thing was already occurring 20 years ago. Probably 25 years ago. The stadium would sell out for the 1-2 rugby tests it got a year and the one day cricket (not anymore) and maybe the odd Blues game. But that was it, for the rest of the year and other events it sat barely filled. And that seemed to worsen every year.
            And really that surprising? Given that tickets became more and more expensive and the lack of amenities at the stadium; was it really worth the inconvenience and cost of going there when you could watch it on sky in your lounge in increasing definition?

            This is why I cringe at all this talk of chucking money away on stadiums in NZ: As you’ve alluded, FEWER AND FEWER PEOPLE GO TO LIVE SPORTS GAMES ANYWAY.

            Wellington wasted public money on a multi-purpose stadium, until recently easily the best stadium in NZ, and after the novelty wore off it struggled to attract crowds for rugby or any event with the stupid oval shaped field and exposure to the elements.
            Dunedin has replaced Carisbrook with its own white elephant. Nice stadium, but it is going to burden the ratepayer there for decades.

            So I why aren’t people learning the lessons and realising that maybe these stadiums are not such a priority and maybe just maybe are actually money drains? Is it this childish endless comparison with Australia amongst sports fans? People in NZ bleat on about how they want their city to have a brand new 50,000 seater stadium (to be fair Christchurch is the worst) but how often (of ever) do these people even go to live sports events? NZ’s not a very populated country, NZ cities aren’t that big and there’s not even that many sports events over the calendar year to host anyway. Sport seems to be put on a cultural pedestal within NZ by the media and certain schools, but is NZ really such a sporty society or is it more that alternatives to sport are discouraged? I don’t think that NZ’s actual sports participation is as high as people think compared to many other developed nations.
            Yeah maybe the Eden park stadium should just be knocked down, Aucklanders have (finally) dropped this idea of “hallowed turf” and faced that Eden Park’s really not very good. But this idea of chucking millions into some waterfront stadium seems so foolish. If a new football stadium is to be built for Auckland; wouldn’t the Mt. Smart site be ideal with its central-ish location and links to transit? Why waste millions (probably be public money in today’s NZ) on something that’s probably not even going to get used let alone filled very often?!

          2. Eden Park exists where it is because a hundred years ago it was a swamp full of flax and cabbage trees that nobody had built on yet because it was a swamp.

            Eventually they drained it and leveled it out into a paddock for local sports and recreation for the surrounding working class residents of the old streetcar villa neighbourhood.

            Then they build a bit of a stand.

            Then it got a bigger stand… and successively they added on and replaced bits for successive events (Empire Games, Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup)… and through iteration by iteration we ended up a defacto national stadium, but one still on an old swamp in the middle of a suburban area.

            The story would be the same if they’d done that to Grey Lynn Park, or Mt Albert domain, or whatever. Local parks that escaped the fate of history.

          3. Eden park has never been any “national stadium”, New Zealand is amongst the majority of nations that has never had one and for good reasons.

            And the 1990 commonwealth games were held at Mt Smart stadium. Yes it was among the stadia used for the rugby world cup’s. It was the stadium for the 1950 empire games, that’s a long time ago now.

            I’m pretty sure reading somewhere a long time ago that it was originally only a cricket oval. At some stage Auckland rugby decided to also use it for hosting games. I don’t know why but my natural assumption is due to facilities.

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