• Concept drawing of the preferred option for the Takapuna town square development.

Takapuna town square gets the go-ahead

Last month, Panuku Development Auckland, Council’s development arm, released results of public consultation and a representative survey undertaken to determine public feeling on the much-debated development of the car park at 40 Anzac Street in Takapuna.

Both sets of results showed support for a new town square and revitalisation on the car park site. In an independent survey conducted by Colmar Brunton, 69% of people preferred one of the two development proposals. In Auckland Council-run online consultation, 55% of people who responded were in support. A site running between Hurstmere and Lake Roads came out as the preferred location for this new public space in both the consultation and the independent survey.

Despite the positive support for the development, which now has the go-ahead from Council (work on the replacement carpark starts in October), a number of myths continue to do the rounds and perhaps impact on some perceptions of the project. We put a number of these to Panuku. Here are the responses:

Myth: All the buildings around the square will be nine stories.

Fact: The buildings on the rest of the site can be up to nine storeys, but are likely to be set back at between two and four storeys. The building edges need to be set back from the square to minimise shading and to create a people-friendly environment. The town square location has also been chosen as it is less vulnerable to shading from external development. We’ll work with our development partners to ensure buildings surrounding the town square will not shade it.

Myth: There won’t be any parking while they develop the square.

Fact: There are currently approximately 2,300 public car park spaces in Takapuna (both on and off-street). 40 Anzac Street provides 250 of these. The car parks available on Anzac Street will be replaced with car parks on the gasometer site. Construction on Anzac Street will not begin until the new parking building on the gasometer site is open.

We’re working with Auckland Transport to ensure that accessibility parking is sufficiently provided for. There will be 14 accessibility car parks in the new gasometer car park building.

Myth: The square is too small to be useful.

Fact: The size of the town square has been considered carefully. The size proposed (3000 square metres) will create a high-quality square that can be easily used and managed. There is also almost 6000sqm of existing public space – more than half a rugby field – at Hurstmere Green and Potters Park. These are both within the same block as the new town square.

Myth: We’ll lose customers as we won’t have any carparking.

Fact: International studies show that creating pedestrian-friendly environments and increasing foot traffic has a positive effect on businesses. New retail, commercial and residential accommodation will bring more people to the centre and increase economic activity.  All this growth will have a positive impact on Takapuna as a shopping and food and beverage destination. 

Myth: The walk from the proposed carpark is too long.

Fact: The new gasometer car park is only 200 metres away and will work well in tandem with the existing Killarney Street car park to serve Takapuna’s town centre.

Myth: All the land is going to be sold off to developers.

Fact: Approximately 3000sqm of land will be retained as public space. We’ll work with the private sector to deliver shops, eateries, homes and offices on the remainder of the sites, ensuring integration with the town square. Our vision for Takapuna, as at Wynyard Quarter, is for a development that will deliver public space, homes, offices and shops of the highest quality. Our work, and the work of our developers, is monitored by both internal and external experts, as well as best practice industry standards. 

Myth: The money from selling to developers won’t go back in to Takapuna.

Fact: Panuku works in ‘priority’ locations which we call ‘Unlock’ or ‘Transform’. Takapuna is an ‘Unlock’ project. Any money generated from property sales in these places is reinvested in our priority locations. $21 million will be reinvested in to the new gasometer car park and funds will also be invested in to the new town square and other public spaces.

Myth: The design is a done deal and Council won’t change it.

Fact: Through the engagement and consultation, we now have a clear steer on the preferred location for the town square. This is for a square that runs between Lake and Hurstmere Roads. There is not a design for the town square or adjoining development yet. However, we have released a couple of concept drawings to help the community understand the vision for the site. Detailed design will be worked on over the next year.

Myth: Takapuna will lose its market.

Fact: The Takapuna Sunday Market is a valued part of the Takapuna community. The new town square can easily accommodate a market. The market can stay as it is for another two years. We are using that time to work with the market operator to find a new location to ensure it remains a successful part of the community. We’ve given the market operator several options on council properties, including the new town square on 40 Anzac Street.

For more information, go to https://www.panuku.co.nz/takapuna.