8: Re-purposing the aging mid-rise buildings of midtown
What if the aging midrise buildings of midtown became model mixed use mash ups?
There are quite a high number of aging mid-rise office blocks in the city centre, particularly in the midtown area, which are in need of redevelopment and are often no longer viable in their earlier roles in providing high value commercial office space.
Often further development opportunities on these sites are limited under the district plan. Some of them may get redeveloped, possibly through amalgamation with neighbouring sites allowing for larger scale redevelopment opportunities. For others this won’t be possible.
This should be seen as a positive. These buildings, built in the 1960s and 1970s and typically between say 8 and 15 storeys in height, actually make quite an important contribution to our cityscape. They play a mediating role between the proper high rise towers of more recent decades and the much lower, sometimes only 2 or 3 storey scale of many heritage buildings. They are also often structurally sound and have medium-sized floor plates suitable for residential conversion.
So there are many reasons why retaining these structures but re-purposing them for a new future makes sense. Wouldn’t it be great if in doing so, we could develop a new building type for Auckland that provides some flexible ways of achieving vertical mixed use rather than always separating residential from office space in our city. Such a strategy could guarantee a vibrant future for midtown.
Aging mid-rise buildings such as these on Victoria Street have good potential to adapt to a new flexible mixed use building typology (Image credits: Craig https://www.flickr.com/photos/craigsyd)