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Cargo shed 'magic' for $84m

4:00AM Friday Jun 19, 2009
By Bernard Orsman


Two 97-year-old dock sheds will be converted into "magic spaces" for the Rugby World Cup under an $84.3 million plan approved by the Auckland City Council yesterday.

The sheds are the focal point of a plan for a cruise ship terminal and World Cup "party central" on Queens Wharf.

The council opted to restore the two 1912 cargo sheds instead of building a basic terminal for $112.8 million, an "iconic" terminal for $144 million or a basic cup fan zone for $52.1 million.

The $84.3 million has been included in the council's long-term budget, but it will be paid by all Aucklanders when the Super City takes over next year.

The Government and the Auckland Regional Council each paid $20 million to buy the wharf from Ports of Auckland, so the city council's proposal takes the total cost to just over $124 million.

Its city development general manager, John Duthie, said the two cargo sheds were "magic spaces", full of exposed kauri, totara and matai native timber and steel beams.



The plan is to turn the eastern shed into a cruise ship terminal in conjunction with a live site on the ground floor for World Cup events.
The western shed would have a more basic upgrade for use during the rugby tournament, and would be converted afterwards to another use, such as a new home for the Auckland Theatre Company.

The theatre company believes a combined 500- to 600-seat theatre and cruise ship terminal would be complementary in an "architecturally stunning" multipurpose building.

Auckland City Mayor John Banks said an open day would be held soon to show Aucklanders how fabulous the buildings were on the inside and how special they could look.

Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney said the council plan appeared to be a good middle-ground option that would open up a quintessential Auckland location to showcase the city for the World Cup.
Although the bill will be spread across the region - and has to be approved by the Auckland Transition Agency before it can be passed to the Super City - several city councillors yesterday criticised the amount of money involved in the project.

City Vision councillor Cathy Casey said the new spending was "World Cup-itis".

"The symptoms are feverish spending of ratepayers' money on anything to do with Rugby World Cup 2011 and blindness to the real long-term needs of Aucklanders living in the suburbs," she said.

Deputy Mayor David Hay said that until recently the regional council was going to develop Queens Wharf, but now it and the Government had "dished us up a big problem and a huge opportunity".

Based on an assessment showing 35 per cent of the economic benefits from a cruise ship terminal would go to the whole country, the council would seek a $30 million contribution from the Government "or other parties".

Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully said he was not surprised Auckland City was seeking money from other parties, but the focus should be on other councils rather than the Government, which had already paid $20 million towards the purchase.

Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee said he had not been briefed on the council's plans, but he would not be "rubber-stamping" them without some scrutiny.

"The ARC's approach would be to have the wharf open, and have a new building - that's our preference as the part-owner. But we'll have a good look at Auckland City's plan in an open way."
 

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Brian Rudman: Government bullies pushing city a wharf too far
4:00AM Friday Jun 19, 2009
By Brian Rudman


The Government-appointed gauleiter of Auckland, Mark Ford, will be earning every bit of his $540,000 (plus 10 per cent performance bonus) salary when he sits in judgment on the $124 million Queens Wharf development hatched by politicians this week.

On Monday, the Auckland Regional Council decided to join the Government and spend $20 million apiece to buy Queens Wharf. Yesterday, not to be outdone, the Auckland City Council followed up by voting in favour of an $84 million plan to convert the existing two wharf sheds into a world-class passenger terminal.

Councillors decided that of the four options presented to them, ranging from a $52.1 million bargain basement plan to a $144 million "iconic" conversion, their choice "best balances cost and amenity".

But the ARC and Auckland City will be going out of business in October next year, and neither can commit the incoming Super City to any debts exceeding $20,000 without the chairman of the Auckland Transitional Agency's blessing.

Adding to Chairman Ford's challenge is that Prime Minister John Key, who appointed him to, among other things, curb reckless spending by the outgoing councils, is now trying to bully the ARC and ACC into fast-tracking the wharf makeover.

I have no idea whether $84.3 million is the going price for an el cheapo cruise ship terminal or if $144 million is a good deal for an eye-popping iconic model. I'm yet to be convinced ratepayers should be footing the bill for either.

What does seem unconscionable is that this Government, like the last one, can breeze into town and try to bully Aucklanders into making overnight decisions on how best to turn this jewel of a site into a world-class waterfront attraction.

I'm no fan of procrastination. Indeed I support the streamlining of decision-making that the super city promises to deliver.

But just as the two-week ultimatum the last Government gave us to decide on a waterfront stadium was farcical, so is the even shorter time Auckland politicians have been given this time round.

The Government and the ARC have been involved in studies concluding that Auckland needs a new passenger terminal to cash in on what an ARC report calls the "spectacular renaissance of passenger cruise shipping".

Government researchers last year reckoned a Queens Wharf cruise terminal would generate an additional $713 million in direct spending for the New Zealand economy over the next decade. Of this, 65 per cent would stick in the Auckland region.

Last week, Mr Key declared he wants the wharf operating as "party central" for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Local politicians seem to have converted this wish - as wish it can only be - into some sort of command that the terminal has to be up and running by then.

To me, that's too many steps too far and too fast. Aucklanders have waited so long to liberate Queens Wharf that neither past nor future generations are going to thank us if, now it's in our grasp, all we do is stumble into some quick-fix, one-event-oriented compromise.

Above all else, we have to unlink the decision-making from the Rugby World Cup.

If the Prime Minister's wish for a cup "party central" can be incorporated into whatever grand plans Aucklanders decide on for this jewel of a site, then so much the better.

But surely we're not so stupid and lacking in vision as to do the reverse and limiting our plans to needs and desires of a rugby tournament or the private cruise ship industry.

You have only to look across the Tasman to Sydney to see what wonderful uses such a site can be put to. Already the Auckland Theatre Company has produced an imaginative proposal that combines a passenger terminal with a much-needed drama theatre.

ATC chairman, Kit Toogood, QC, quotes advisers as saying "a bloody good terminal and theatre complex could be built for $60 million". That's a new building from ground up. Compare that with the $84.3 million plan which involves tarting up the existing sheds for a terminal.

The theatre complex might not be the answer, though it certainly has more appeal than a stand-alone passenger terminal. But without going through an international search for ideas and designs, how will we ever know what marvellous options we're about to throw away?
 

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Disappointing to say the least but this is what many expected. The first sight of Auckland for many overseas visiters will be a tarted up old bannana shed. The fact that it's made of kauri is supposed to somehow make that more impressive for them :eek:hno:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have to say I feel a bit disappointed myself too. As I've stated previously I would have prefered as few buildings on the wharf as possible. Looking at the picture above, I can understand how building 2 might be useful for a passenger terminal (although it'll definitely need a massive refurbishment), but I think building 1 will just get in the way of what could be a lovely public space.

I'm still hoping we might see a decently sized grassy area somewhere on the wharf.

(I bet Sydney's whacking his head against a wall at this very moment).
 

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$84 Million to do up some old sheds? My gosh that is a lot, I think it is better to go with a legacy option for a bit more money. I don't know why the want to refurbish these sheds, if they really think the timber is that impressive they should recycle it and use it in a new structure.
 

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Are they havn a larf? what a complete and utter disgrace, someone should burn those fucking things down! That will be create a bit of 'magic'!
 

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This sux, $84 to 'do up' sheds? compared to $112 million to actually get something decent. This council has gotta go! Cruise ship terminal! Cruise ship terminal! Cruise ship terminal!
 

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"The ARC's approach would be to have the wharf open, and have a new building - that's our preference as the part-owner. But we'll have a good look at Auckland City's plan in an open way."
The only hope is the ARC tells them to stop being idiots and come back with a proper plan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Keep building 2 (as shown in the photo above) and do it up - it could be quite a funky restored building. But I would say that building 1 should go. All it will do is get in the way of a nice public open space.
 

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Yeah, I think the term "shed" might be a little misleading - we really need to see renders.

The Marine Event Centre is set down for $29m and looks OK, so if they are spending $84m (admittedly for 2 buildings) its obviously more than a lick of paint.

The downside is there won't be a large "iconic" structure. The upside is that probably means more space for public access and, hopefully, greenery.

Still, I wait to see the renders and, crucially, the ARC's thoughts on them.
 

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Yeah, I think the term "shed" might be a little misleading - we really need to see renders.

The Marine Event Centre is set down for $29m and looks OK, so if they are spending $84m (admittedly for 2 buildings) its obviously more than a lick of paint.

The downside is there won't be a large "iconic" structure. The upside is that probably means more space for public access and, hopefully, greenery.

Still, I wait to see the renders and, crucially, the ARC's thoughts on them.
They are only spending $14 million to renovate both sheds( $7 mill per shed?). The rest of the money is for wharf strenghtening, consultants and other crap. See cost breakdown in the first article.

I honestly wouldn't hope for anything too flash. Banks and the ACC have been forced into this and are trying to get away with the cheapest option available to them.
 

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This whole debacle, illustrates how screwed up AUckland's governance is,

I mean, ARC pay $20 million (+ $20 mil from the Govt) to its subsidiary ports of Auckland for something they already own?, Where did this $20 million come from, was it "just lying around" or are they going to just write down the $20 million from the PoA books?

But then... the Auckland city Council get told you have to find money to upgrade it??, hello do people from takapuna, devonport and beyond the boroughs not party in downtown auckland?

I would have thought letting the regional council develop the wharves (they own them for gawds sake) would have been the least bureaucratic solution.

Thank goodness this will be the last such governance cluster f$$k, with the supercity taking over.
 

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They are only spending $14 million to renovate both sheds( $7 mill per shed?). The rest of the money is for wharf strenghtening, consultants and other crap. See cost breakdown in the first article.
Yeah, just noticed that when I read it again. Of course, they also say that the Shed 1 will only have a basic upgrade and will be upgraded further for another purpose (e.g. a Theatre) after RWC2011, so most of that $14m will be spent on Shed 2. But still.....

With regards to Shed 1, with only a basic upgrade (safety issues probably) I can tell you exactly what it will be for RWC2011 - a Heineken Beer Barn. It will be part of a Heineken Village, like those they had in some places at RWC2007. Guaranteed.
 

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Well that will be quite cool for the World cup. I could see myself spending a bit of quality time in a Heinekin beer barn :cheers:

I suppose like you i should reserve judgement until renders are made available. It's easy to expect the worst in Auckland we become so used to half arsed outcomes but who knows we could be surprised. Maybe.

You'd think somthing would come out over the next few days.
 

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They talk of the native timber and the steel beams and the heritage inside the sheds, and that all sounds great. I would imagine all of that polished up to compliment brand spanking new fixtures and fittings would look great.

But first impressions count and a shed is still a shed. So there has to be a dramatic change to the exterior, otherwise its a waste of money for my mind.

I always think Banks is a sneaky bugger and I wouldn't mind betting that he is trying to force the hands of central government and the ARC by promising to under-deliver - like he did with Eden Park after he got back in. Saying "this is our idea. If you want something better, front up"
 

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Well that would be interesting. I don't think the ARC will be able to put much more in after the 20 mill. They are also scambling to plug funding gaps for all the PT projects that have been left high and dry by the fuel tax.

Would be good if central govt were to chip in a few more bucks.

All will be revealed soon enough i suppose.
 

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I mean, ARC pay $20 million (+ $20 mil from the Govt) to its subsidiary ports of Auckland for something they already own?, Where did this $20 million come from, was it "just lying around" or are they going to just write down the $20 million from the PoA books?.
They are two separate legal (albeit related) entities are they not? The sale still has to have a value and it is (normally) required to be at an arm's length (open market) value.
 

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Yes, Banks is a crafty bugger, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's threatning this crappy option just to get the govt to step in to plug the gap. National are quite generous when it comes to development shortfalls, Otago stadium comes to mind.
 

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Well that would be interesting. I don't think the ARC will be able to put much more in after the 20 mill. They are also scambling to plug funding gaps for all the PT projects that have been left high and dry by the fuel tax.
True. But from memory, Mike Lee's "non-gold plated" option would cost, he said, $15-$30m....which is twice what is being spent on this one. So they (the ARC) obviously consider that level of spending acceptable.
 
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