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Old April 21st, 2008, 09:35 PM   #1
drosophila
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PRECINCT DOWNTOWN SHOPPING CENTRE | Proposed

Public get no say on waterside skyscraper

Tuesday April 22, 2008
By Bernard Orsman



The world's biggest shopping centre owner, Westfield, plans to build a 41-storey skyscraper on its Downtown site at the bottom of Queen St.

It will be one of the tallest buildings in Auckland and the tallest on the waterfront, soaring over the nearby 26-storey PricewaterhouseCoopers and 19-storey HSBC towers.

At 67 storeys, the proposed 259-unit Elliott apartment tower on the corner of Elliott, Albert and Victoria Sts will be Auckland's tallest building, almost as tall as the 328m-high Sky Tower.

Planning commissioners Greg Hill and Conway Stewart yesterday gave Westfield the nod to proceed with the tower on a non-notified basis, meaning the public will not get to have a say.

The commissioners, appointed by Auckland City Council, are expected to decide this week whether to grant resource consent for the building, which will have a two-level retail podium and 39 storeys of office/plant space. Council officers have recommended the building be granted resource consent with conditions.

Westfield NZ director Justin Lynch said the first step was to get resource consent. The company had yet to determine the timing of the project.

It has created a stir among transport agencies because it is right above a proposed $1 billion underground loop from Britomart to Mt Eden.

Westfield and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority have been discussing how to build the foundations to allow a tunnel to pass under the building.

Mr Lynch said the company was looking at engineering and geotechnical designs in conjunction with the transport authority. Authority chief Fergus Gammie said the rail loop had to be protected "and we will be ensuring that happens".

Currently, there is no designation over the planned 3.5km tunnel between Britomart and Mt Eden, which would run beneath Albert St with underground stations near Wellesley St and Karangahape Rd.

By turning Britomart into a through station, the loop would make it possible for 400,000 Aucklanders to reach the central business district within 30 minutes by rail, doubling the existing catchment.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 09:56 PM   #2
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Yay for two reasons.
1. Nice tall building !!!
2. "Joe Public" won't get an opportunity to stymie a legitimate use of this site.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 10:01 PM   #3
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That block will be looking rather grand once all done. Absolutely no loss with the mall getting bowled. As long as they can still build the underground loop. I'd take a tunnel over a 40 story tower on the site any day. Real cities have metros.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 10:21 PM   #4
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what a fantastic way to start the day!!

lower queen street is gonna rock soon
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Old April 21st, 2008, 10:40 PM   #5
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LOL, yep just saw this on the herald and rushed to post it but I'm beaten I see. Hopefully this one goes ahead. 41 floors should be around 140m? Give or take 5m.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 10:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neitzsche View Post
That block will be looking rather grand once all done. Absolutely no loss with the mall getting bowled. As long as they can still build the underground loop. I'd take a tunnel over a 40 story tower on the site any day. Real cities have metros.
I agree, but looks like they seem confident both can go ahead. I don't see why not, I'm sure tunnels are going under half of NYC's scrapers for example.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 11:08 PM   #7
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It may have something to do with that part of the city being reclaimed land. Also I know that in NY they have incredibly solid bedrock, while in AK there is all sorts of problems due to all the volcanic activity in the area. For example my building, precinct, while really thin north to south still had serious problems. The north side went down 10 meters to hit bedrock, the south side they had to go down 65 meters and had to spend millions bringing in capable equipment from oz. Should something similar occur and affect the rail tunnel it would be a serious blow to us non car driving folk (there are some). Still, I'm no engineer. Anyone have any thoughts?
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Old April 21st, 2008, 11:16 PM   #8
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The graphic on the front page of the Herald says 41 storeys and approx 160 meters tall
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Old April 21st, 2008, 11:16 PM   #9
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I agree that making sure the building doesn't screw up opportunities to build that underground loop is very important. Frustratingly, there is no designation for the underground loop so we're basically relying on Westfield's goodwill to provide foundations in a suitable manner.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 11:26 PM   #10
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Goodwill? That doesn't sound good. Does the council seriously not have any teeth on this matter? And why the non-notified consent, especially given the location? Bankys back in full force I guess.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 12:10 AM   #11
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I'm smiling.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 12:12 AM   #12
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Good news here. Makes sense after all the news about high office occupancies. Is a bit of a looker as well. IM sure Ive read here that the current Westfield site is a bit of a dump so this should keep people more than happy. Except for readers of the Herald, expect a backlash soon.

My fingers are crossed for you guys. Want to see what this will look like on the skyline from different vantage points as well..
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 12:28 AM   #13
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Love the way the Herald can make a negative out of a positive...
"Public get no say on waterside skyscraper"
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 12:43 AM   #14
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I hope they use the glass shown in the renders - very swish!!
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 01:18 AM   #15
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Should be a good addition to the skyline
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 01:19 AM   #16
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It would be interesting to see how big the retail componenet of this project will be. Two levels of retail. I am wondering if that would be 100 shops or it could be on a scale like Broadway in Sydney which is over 200 shops.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 01:22 AM   #17
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Wow ! now Auckland is Talking ......

Yes usually 4m for Office Floor Plates ....so 160m plus
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 01:31 AM   #18
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Are there any other renders? and is that the final design?
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 01:46 AM   #19
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Council only has teeth to ensure the foundations don't mess up any future rail line if there's something like a designation in place for the inner-city loop. At the moment the inner-city loop doesn't exist in any form legally, so there's nothing council can do. However, i think Westfield will probably come to the party and design things so the tunnel can be built around it. They may ask for some compensation for extra cost, which i think is fair enough.

Regarding non-notification, I think that the Elliott Tower has shown us there's nothing much to be gained through notifying skyscrapers. You just end up with stupid submissions such as Sky City's.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 01:51 AM   #20
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I'm sure they'll work around it. It would be terrible PR to screw over a major project.
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