Discussion around the sale of the Downtown Carpark has been heating up again lately, and it likely all comes to a head tomorrow when Council will effectively decide on whether to sell it or not.

The previous council’s Finance and Performance Committee approved starting the sale process back in December 2020, in large part due to the impact COVID had on council’s finances. Though that’s not the only reason, as the structure also needs– likely expensive – seismic strengthening at some point.

The parking building is massive, covering around 6,250m² and holding around 1944 carparks, making it the biggest single example in the city. Redevelopment of the site – and the surrounding area, such as removing the Hobson St Flyover – has been on a number of council plans for over a decade. The current City Centre Masterplan says:

The western half of this downtown west precinct retains the potential to unlock significant additional benefits in the future.

Transformation of this sub-precinct remains key to integrating the city centre downtown core with the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter waterfront neighbourhoods to the west.

In particular, the eventual removal of the Lower Hobson Street Flyover, and long-term aspiration to redevelop the Auckland Council-owned downtown car park site, have the collective potential to add:

  • greater intensity
  • higher value
  • more active uses
  • a more engaging and connected public realm that delivers the unrealised place potential in this prime location.

Last year, Precinct Properties were confirmed as the preferred development partner for the site, and last week we got a glimpse of what they’re proposing for the site.

Twin towers and a laneway weaving its way from Britomart to the Viaduct are proposed if Auckland councillors agree to sell the Downtown carpark building to Precinct Properties.


Central to Precinct’s plans are two slim skyscrapers nearly 40 storeys high towering above the M Social hotel on Quay St that will have a mix of office space and apartments with spectacular views of the Waitematā Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf.

At ground level, the laneway through Commercial Bay from Te Komititanga Square will be extended across lower Albert St, weaving between Aon House and HSBC Tower before passing the two new towers to Lower Hobson St. There are also plans for a park on part of Sturdee St.

Comments in the pack show Precinct Properties is keen to remove the Hobson St flyover to open up and refurbish lower Hobson St, saying that keeping the flyover will prevent access to the Viaduct, reduce the visibility of a podium development and compromise the overall quality of the project.

In order to sell, the Council are being asked drop some of their initial requirements for selling the Downtown Carpark. Stuff’s Todd Niall Reports:

The proposed sale of Auckland Council’s big Downtown Carpark Building could be clinched this week with the council to decide whether to drop two of its requirements from the private redevelopment of the site.

Councillors on Thursday may waive the condition that Precinct Properties include a big cycle and scooter “hub”, and the demolition of the adjacent Lower Hobson Street flyover might be removed from the deal.

Those two aspects appear to be the last hurdles to completion of confidential negotiations with Precinct, which in September 2022 became the council’s preferred buyer and developer of the prime site.


Officials said the “transport outcomes” required by the council had been materially achieved in negotiations with Precinct, except the hub and the flyover, which would have had to make way for buses.

A report to Thursday’s council meeting, said these items had been secured at the “council’s discretion”, which suggested there could be a cost that would have to be agreed to.

The board of Auckland Transport, which runs the carpark, decided behind closed doors in September that the “hub” offered poor value for money – it had unofficially been reported as a $28 million feature.

The cost of the remaining “discretionary” requirements are recommended to become part of the council’s deliberations on it’s 10 year budget, effectively putting them in competition with other spending needs.

The deal with Precinct is reported to be otherwise ready for completion, with the board of council development agency Eke Panuku having approved the final terms and conditions.

Other initial requirements, like the idea of putting a bus interchange in the middle of the development and retaining some parking, have been dropped over time. So now these last two items are essentially a “if you want them, then you have to pay for them” situation. Effectively, keeping them in would mean the council gets less money from the sale – and the question being put to Councillors now is whether those outcomes are the most immediate pressing needs for that money.

It’s shame that information about the development had to be leaked rather than be publicly available, because what’s being proposed looks fantastic. Furthermore, given Precinct’s record with the likes of Commercial Bay there’s no reason to doubt this will be a fantastic addition to the city – and one that only a few years after it’s complete, people will wonder why this whole debate even happened.

Trying to stand in the way of the sale and a massive development in the city centre are the Chief Executive of the organisation whose job it is to promote the city centre, Viv Beck, and one of the key donors to her failed mayoral campaign, Andrew Krukziener. Both are claiming that removing parking will kill businesses in the area and both have a history of claiming that it must be made easier to drive to and through the city.

In a Herald op-ed a few days ago, Beck opposed improvements for buses and pedestrians while also saying that because these alternatives aren’t good enough, we need to accommodate people driving. Then there’s this phrase from the end of her piece, effectively describing PT and active mode users as elites, while it’s drivers who are poor and long-suffering.

our city needs to meet the needs of a variety of users – not just those fortunate enough to be able to get around by public transport, bike and walking

Notably, both Beck and Krukziener were also behind the attempt to stop improvements to Queen St. Their protestations and negativity about the city, both then and now, are likely doing more harm to city businesses than these plans for major investment are.

Councillors should approve the sale.

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  1. As one of the “elites”,l can only only suspect that Viv and Co, are only trying to protect “their patch” fair play,it’s what she’s paid to do. Wouldn’t she love to have the “Newmarket problem”. But ,you must have the ability to “read the room”,it would seem that AT and WK were surprised at the traffic issues after their little field trip out west. Are our leaders caught up in their own bubbles,and unable to see anything ,but the status quo ,most everything l read about Heart of the City is negative ,and scathing of the council,the demise of Queen St is imminent, apparently,and the only solution proposed is ,more car parks.

    1. “trying to protect “their patch” fair play,it’s what she’s paid to do.”

      She’s paid to protect car parking? Where’s that in her job description?

      So fricking weird that even in the heart of our densest city, we got these people prioritising cars over everything. The ONE place in NZ where it should be clear that other modes have to come first.

      Car dominance is one hell of a drug. Addicts get withdrawal symptoms at the very thought of reducing use!

      1. No the ‘addicts’ just wont turn up and spend their money….Auckland city dies as it is on the way to do now. But you wouldnt know that because you dont go there anyway!

        1. Who cares if they don’t turn up, they don’t already. Car drivers are already the minority in the city centre. More people come by public transport than drive, plus there are those that walk or cycle from nearby areas, and of course more people already live in town than drive there each day.

          All the growth in the city from the last three decades has been by non-drivers. Car drivers have little relevance for the CBD economy, 1,000 less cars on the street is a good thing for the 200,000 people who are there each day.

    2. Actually she is worried about the Newmarket phenomena – before the new Westfield mall the Newmarket “high street” strip was a really vibrant shopping strip. Post mall and street retail collapsed, with empty shops everywhere as the mall sucked the money out of local retail.

      Queen street is suffering from the short sighted obstructionism of the likes of Mr. Krukziner, because capitalism, like nature, abhors a vacuum and it hasn’t waited. The investment and the axis of downtown has moved from north-south down Queen street and surrounds to an east-west alignment from Wynyard to Britomart that are aligned with PT options & the waterfront. The proposed redevelopment of the carpark by Precinct is simply another step in this realignment of Auckland’s downtown and as such will impact the value of commercial property rents in Queen street.

      1. The move to downtown and viaduct began years ago when Queen St was flooded with fake language schools and wall to wall sushi shops. Nothing to do with car parking.

      2. “Actually she is worried about the Newmarket phenomena – before the new Westfield mall the Newmarket “high street” strip was a really vibrant shopping strip. Post mall and street retail collapsed, with empty shops everywhere as the mall sucked the money out of local retail.”

        Sorry, that makes no sense in combination. We’re talking about her opposition to (possibly) removing a major car park, and you cite an example that added large numbers of car parks as a problem she wants to avoid? I know there’s different other factors at play in each example, but it still doesn’t stack up for me as an argument as to why Newmarket’s recent years are an example for why someone would insist that City Centre needs to get more friendly for cars!

        1. And on a note: I have followed the situation in Newmarket for 20 years, having worked close by for much of that time. It’s been having problems with empty shops for far longer than the new mall (which only opened a few years ago).

          I wonder what other thing happened in the last couple years… oh, wait. We had a pandemic that meant people stayed home and shopped from home a lot more.

        2. “The investment and the axis of downtown has moved from north-south down Queen street and surrounds to an east-west alignment from Wynyard to Britomart that are aligned with PT options & the waterfront”
          Don’t think that’s really the reason, with the CRL construction in it self causing some of the downturn and then COVID/shift to work from home.
          Makes a case for more buses to go down Queen St, which has just happened actually with the WX1 and 11T/W from the NW motorway routes going down and terminating there, did so myself the other day & happen to time it with the Jazz on Vulcan Lane outdoor concert thingy.
          Of course the real game changer would be light rail to cruise up & down Queen St.

    3. Viv Beck has been getting weekly coverage in the media about the crime and people sleeping in the area. She says it’s getting worse and affecting business and tourists are not wanting to come to the area.
      She never quotes any police numbers.
      I always find downtown vibrant. I understand there are some people who are struggling with life and need help and the City Mission is doing that.
      Sometimes I hear people complaining about our PT that it is rubbish or worse. Yes ok if they live in West Auckland and want to take their kid to school in Mission Heights which is a round trip of 70km and a true story. PT wont work for them. But when people complain in the media the interviewer should ask there situation and where they live and where they are going. Alf Filipaina is concerned about workers getting to the Port of Auckland. There are many train and bus stations close to the Port and PT should be suitable for most of them. Actually the real reason why some don’t use PT is because it means walking to a station and then sitting close to other people and too many don’t like that.

  2. There should just be an article of things Viv Beck has opposed and how successful they have been. She must have an appaling hit rate when it comes to her reckons. For someone who promote the City Centre I don’t think I’ve seen one postiive thing come out her mouth.

    Anywat, its a couple of idiots opposing, just get on with selling it.

    1. She’s a symptom of a larger problem: moneyed interests have a voice in the CBD, while the far larger general population are scattered and disorganised.

      1. Disagree. Common sense; Keep property and build the twin towers creating revenue for the next century. Making sure no back handing is done with Fletcher, Higgins and the build is kept WITHIN the budget. Auckland council is notorious for giving into the big construction companies. Employ Team to ensure work Is kept within the budget!!!!!!

  3. How transparent is the preferred partner sale process? Particularly now that Precinct are negotiating away conditions, and including changes to public roads, based on what the property might sell for?
    Is it going back on the open market once council confirm?

    1. Not very.Precinct own the majority of sites down there.The scale of those towers is excessive and one in particular looks massively over rule based allowance height for that location.Height shouldn’t be focused toward the waterfront blocking the views of the rest of Auckland to the water and dominating that part of the landscape.It should be inset within the city more.

  4. Given what Precinct has already done, with its amazing lane ways, we must sell it to them.

    I love to walk around with my two young boys and although there is a path through the current carpark, it would be amazing to not have to smell or cough or listen to the hideous fossil-fueled vehicles!

    As the council has already approved the new park for the ex silos, the city will become welcomely walkable, for all!

    1. We “must” not sell anything. Particularly not Council property to a for profit business.

      But it may well *be* the right thing to sell. IF there isn’t some ridiculous requirement for oodles of car parking to be retained and IF the flyover gets removed.

      1. Huge shame that Commercial bay had to have carparking underneath accessed through the main Auckland central bus interchange.
        Lower albert should have been a bus only area with full bus lanes linking out North, West, etc.

        I suspect the exact same thing will happen here and Fanshawe/customs will still be a complete mess of merging,changing lanes

        1. Tall buildings need deep foundations, which makes including basements in the buildings a relatively inexpensive add on.
          But basement space is commercially relitively unattractive except for car parking, especially when the provision of on site carparking adds value to the tower space. So whilst zero carpark provision is desirable in many ways, it’s probably not yet economically feasible.

          But the site will still see a massive decrease in carparking. Good,

          The real gain, is the huge gain in the far more valuable commercial and residential activity, and the addition of some high quality public amenity space. This development will massively add to the existing vigour of our waterfront area especially, but also to the CBD in general. But landlords and retailers elsewhere, predictably are concerned by the development of something better then their current offer. That is competition in action.

          It is the concentration of commercial, residential, and social activity that defines the vigour of a precinct.
          Storing and moving cars simply diffuses that desired concentration.
          It gobbles space, just gets in the way, and massively degrades the local environment. Thus it should be actively deprioritised.
          Instead we should be more vigorous in further enhancing, the spacially much more efficient, public transport and micro mobility options. Make it easier and much more attractive to use public transport and to just walk around.

          The Newmarket fiasco shows the absolute folly of encouraging car dependance, within a high intensity precinct.

  5. May as well sell it. It was built so people could drive in and shop in Queen Street. People just don’t do that any more and we are not ever likely to again.

    1. True, Miffy, but is it not something more? Is it not also for people driving in to Queen St and then working in an office? Do people still do that in Auckland any more?

      1. I used to park there when I had meetings in town. Now we do them all on Teams. No need to drive, no need to pay, no need to buy coffee. The Central area is well on its way to being a inner city residential suburb, a rough one.

        1. So surely we should create easily accessible environments with fun stuff to do like museums, bars, shops and restaurants within the nice natural scenery which is the harbour while removing hostile infrastructure for everyone unwilling to travel in a 2 tonne vehicle?

        2. “The Central area is well on its way to being a inner city residential suburb, a rough one.”

          “Cities are dying”, Version 227, from ca 2023 CE.

          “Like many previous such prophecies, it took some real patterns, but then extrapolated them the same way highway engineers do with traffic counts, and concluded that things were worse than when the author was young, and were going to be getting even worse.”

        3. The central city is dying so bad people are flocking to live there. Between all those residents and all these new office towers and development projects, one wonders why it isn’t dead already…

  6. There will still be a parking building there, smaller perhaps and owned by Precinct. Still difficult traffic issues with that not having the high level bridge exit.
    Buses will pass by and around, with through stops on Custom Street, heading across town to new termini.
    Removing the viaduct requires solving the bus and traffic through routes and intersections for uncertain benefits and will cost someone a lot.
    Viv could usefully spend time counting the privately owned car parks and getting her businesses together to manage them and their charges.

  7. Hope this gets approved, it will be interesting to see the debate.
    There is still plenty of other parking for those that need it. The city is changing and this is one more step in the right direction.

    1. Everyone’s park at downtown just to go to commercial bay and Viaduct.
      If they demolish it then gg Noone will go to city Viaduct anymore

      1. There is lots of parking just a abit further away and plenty of PT options to get into the city centre. Try the train, you can even drive to some of the stations and park there for free.
        Parking examples from Parkopedia.co.nz (some maybe out of date):
        Viaduct Car Park: 350+ generously-sized parking spaces.
        Fanshawe – Multi-Storey – 509 spaces
        Maritime Car Park – Multi-Storey – 400 spaces
        ANZ Centre – Covered – 400 spaces
        Farmers – Multi-Storey – 915 spaces
        SAP Tower – Covered – 313 spaces
        Ones around Durham Lane
        Sky City ones
        27 Fort St – Not Covered – 70 spaces
        Fort Street – Covered – 74 spaces
        Britomart Car Park – Multi-Storey – 710 spaces!
        6 Tangihua St – Underground – 114 spaces
        73 Anzac Ave – Multi-Storey – 220 spaces
        Arena Car Park – Multi-Storey – 500 spaces

        Jeepers more than I realised once I started looking.

      2. It is a reasonable point though – even though I tend to take PT when I can, I have driven and parked there several times, my wife more so.

      3. I have an idea for you: Do what tens of thousands of people do daily to get into the City Centre. Walk, cycle or use public transport.

        I did it last week for the first time in two years while having time on my hands, and went for a look-around-wander while getting where I was going. The nonsense about the City Centre being in (significant) decline is well exaggerated. It felt lively and safe both. Sure, empty shops are more common than 5 years ago, but duh, there’s been a pandemic.

        The whole “no car parking = no people” is so sick. Doesn’t seem to be a problem for New York, or London. I don’t expect to drive into Berlin or even Frankfurt when I visit the old country. Only in NZ do we seem to insist that the central area of our biggest city needs to function like a rural town.

  8. Sorry for being out of touch on this – I don’t seem to have been paying attention. But can someone explain to me the benefits of removing the hobson flyover. Doesn’t it serve a useful purpose for grade separating the two flows of the NX1 and other north shore traffic? Will traffic be able to get from Quay Street to Hobson Strret without it?

    1. There are no benefits from large scale demolition! Cost? Even Greenies don’t want to discuss that. The lefty Councillors wanr to sell each & every Council asset except the Airport shares. Funny that

    2. There’s a different routing plan for buses without the flyover, a better one.

      The flyover is a problem because it actually takes up a huge amount of room where buses can’t run or stop. It takes up more than half the width of lower Hobson street.

    3. Traffic should be discouraged from travelling from Quay St to Hobson St. The CBD, and in particular the waterfront, shouldn’t be a through route.

    1. Good article and summary of what was done here:

      ““Queen Street is becoming more attractive, and I like that the additional space encourages more foot traffic.
      “It has probably been a while since a furniture store has been on Queen Street. I was very persuaded by what is happening in downtown, in Britomart and Commercial Bay, and this part of Queen Street and the facilities that are now here.

      “I think there is a bit of a domino effect and people will realise the city centre is a nice place to shop and be in, with more cafes and restaurants and people walking,” he says. “

      1. I still feel that some tricks were missed, but then I am somewhat more radical on transport than the average! Overall, it’s turned out good, I think and it’s great to see there’s some people willing to praise it, finally, rather than be drowned out by the grump.

        (Section at and south of Aotea Square needs more work though! But then that’s where little was done, so not really a criticism of what HAS been done…)

        1. Definitely some tricks missed the big one being still allowing cars to drive down it.

          Cars regularly drive down even when “bus only” – the loading zones are also not great.

          And there are points to drive up on kerb outside Vulcan lane (also a an issue on High st side where couriers now just park all over Vulcan Lane someone seems to have move the boxy bollard things) and further down by the weird alley where a Mojo used to be. Have seen cars just drive up this with people standing there.

          A real shame we cannot put in proper bollards along all pedestrian sections

  9. Never read so much trash and ignorant economic analysis. This is an echo chamber, a place where occasional visitors to the cbd think they have the answer. Stay away please, stay in your suburbs, cycle around, and then drive your cars to the beaches and holiday spots. Don’t need you in the city. Don’t need your opinion. Maybe next time ask the businesses who have survived Covid and the floods and the road works and the recession what they want and need to survive. Viv and David speak for them you muppets.
    What a bunch of naval gazing posers.

  10. Not sure how the author thinks that perfect high res renders could be ‘leaked’??Hmm….says more about the developers intentions to me.The issue is about the process/proceeds of the sale not the actual development so it may help to write a balanced article as it reads as propaganda material.Is Auckland truly getting bang for buck?Does it comply with Unitary Plan?Looks well over height!Good bye everyone else’s views and relationship to the water in the cbd with some pretty chunky ugly buildings.Pretty sure Precinct seem to be privatising that whole stretch of land to dominate the landscape with their own buildings.Who can be tallest in that location is stupid when the mid and uptown are dying. Sale of downtown car park needs further scrutiny I say.

    1. Those are shitty photos of printed pages, clearly. If you want to the see the perfect high res renders they are here: https://www.ekepanuku.co.nz/news/downtown-car-park-redevelopment/

      Yes Auckland is getting bang for buck. $120m up front and $8m each year in rates for a carpark that rarely gets to half occupancy and is a liability for seismic strengthening. Plus new buildings with offices and shops, public spaces and accessways, and street and transport upgrades.

      Yes it complies with the unitary plan, in fact exceptionally so. It is in the H8 Special Height Area, the location specifically allocated for supertall towers along Quay Street. This is the only place the rules allow very tall buildings by right. In midtown or uptown they are restricted. If you are worried about them you’ll need to campaign to get the zoning changed.

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