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Old July 2nd, 2008, 04:20 PM   #1
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AUCKLAND | Westfield Downtown | 168m | 41fl | App

Please Note: render is prelim only ....

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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