Press Release – Mt Hobson Properties
A projected 2 million residents are expected in Auckland City and surrounding suburbs by 2050. As the population reaches upwards of this number, the soon to be super city will need adequate accommodations.
As council members and government officials focus on the anticipated Auckland Spatial plan, city developers, architects, builders and planners are preparing developments that will revitalize and revolutionize some of the most sought after city space in New Zealand.
Takapuna Beach is one of the areas expected to see extensive growth and has been identified as a metropolitan town centre within the Auckland Spatial Plan. Less than 10 km from downtown Auckland, Takapuna is a hub for entertainment and boutique shopping, boasting more than 400 retail stores, 60 bars and cafes, event venues, supermarkets, cinemas and weekend and night markets. Its world famous local scenery and public spaces continue to draw tourists and residents alike. Over 100,000 urbanites currently call the area surrounding Takapuna home; and thousands more are expected in the coming years.
“Takapuna is the opportunity to combine the attractions of the CBD, the fashion and lifestyle shopping of Newmarket, the dining and variety of Ponsonby and the seaside ambiance of Mission Bay. All those benefits in one amazing and accessible location set Takapuna Beach apart from any other location in Auckland,” explains Ben Wiltshire, Wiltshire Designs Ltd.
For over 100 years, Takapuna Beach has been a buzzing district with established businesses and retail shops. Because of past success, it is a focal point for new development. High level projects are scheduled for Takapuna which include a new public art gallery, the National Ocean Water Sports Centre (fronting Takapuna Beach Reserve) and a ferry terminal (which would enhance passenger transport within the centre). Within the Spatial Plan, Takapuna has been highlighted as a centre which will receive limited public sector intervention as the fundamentals are in place which will enable the market to achieve the growth envisaged. In short, it is up to private developers within the Takapuna area to realise the vision provided within the Spatial Plan.
A new retail precinct known as The McKenzies Project is currently underway and will incorporate high end retail and hospitality uses in a sophisticated indoor-outdoor environment, set between Hurstmere Road and Takapuna beach. The McKenzies Project is the first development to begin the long awaited process of turning Takapuna around to face the beach. McKenzies property owner Alan Wiltshire, Wiltshire Property Group, says “Takapuna Beach has a number of distinguishing characteristics, which give the area the potential to become more desirable than virtually any other city centre in New Zealand.”
Wiltshire Group have taken extra precaution with the McKenzies development, ensuring a pedestrian friendly public walkway and central courtyard, sophisticated, urban design, and an array of contemporary boutiques and eateries. With the incorporation of 7 adjoining building structures, pedestrian lanes and an internal courtyard, the phase 1 retail precinct is well underway and with a phase 2 yet to be announced, the McKenzies Project is set to be one of Takapuna’s largest commercial developments to date.
According to Ree Anderson, Manager Regional Strategy, Community & Cultural Policy, Auckland City Council, a primary focus of the new Auckland Spatial Plan is to create beautiful spaces for visitors and residents. “While our natural environment is stunning, the quality of urban environment is mixed. There is a strong emphasis on design throughout the draft plan to ensure that our urban environments are beautiful and work well for people- enhancing their everyday experience.”
Wiltshire Property Groups Asset Manager, Jeremy Sussex, explains that the development should exceed council expectations when it comes to designing a modern, urban development. “The precinct is a blend of existing character structures with modern retail shop fronts, surrounding a laneway and central courtyard. Spanish tiles, wrought iron gates, awnings, giant tulip umbrellas, landscape treatments & artwork ensure an attractive pedestrian experience throughout.”
Nick Mattison, Senior Planner with Mt Hobson Group addresses the development’s environmentally friendly concepts. “In addition to a living wall and planters throughout, the walkways were designed to reformat the urban context and facilitate pedestrian connectivity, while moderating the impact of the private motor vehicle.”
The spatial plan seeks urban consolidation and environment focused responses which see development conceived and implemented upon a ‘place based’ approach. Due to the significant natural features and public open space within the Takapuna town centre catchment a new focus towards pedestrians has come to the fore. As highlighted within the Spatial Plan, connectivity and proportionate scale are two fundamental drivers. The McKenzies precinct goes beyond the planning guidelines in establishing additional pedestrian corridors which are not required in any planning documents. To achieve this higher level of pedestrian connectivity parking standards had to be waived. This more flexible approach to development standards results in a higher quality of built form which supports the key drivers within the Spatial Plan.
With a new commitment to environmental action and green growth within the Auckland Spatial Plan, this pedestrian focused development coincides with a range of initiatives that are set to be implemented in the future. According to Anderson, the plan looks at a fundamentally different approach to the way Auckland will grow and develop, including “more sustainable buildings, infrastructure and practice, together with enhancing our natural environment.”
While Auckland City works to pass a plan for future growth, Aucklanders work to make it into reality. “As a family, we grew up in and around Takapuna Beach,” explains Ben Wiltshire. “We understand the potential and feel passionate about delivering an exciting project to be enjoyed by family, friends, locals and visitors alike. Once open, we will continue to manage the precinct to ensure its success.” The vision as spelled out within the Auckland Spatial Plan is able to be achieved through developments such as McKenzies which received Council support throughout the design and consenting stages.