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Commercial Bay

Precinct Properties have confirmed that they’ll proceed with the $681 million redevelopment of the Downtown Shopping Centre – which includes the construction of a 39 storey office building – after reaching their target of having 50% of the development pre-leased.

Tower 1

Precinct own the current mall, along with the HSBC, Zurich, PWC and AMP towers and are grouping them all into a precinct they’re calling Commercial Bay which is the name originally given to the area before the land was reclaimed. Combined they say the area will be occupied by 10,000 workers. The new tower itself will be named PWC tower with PWC moving from the tower across Albert St.

Commercial Bay workers

The project includes

  • 39,000 m2 of commercial office space including a 1,400m2 sky terrace on level 7
  • 18,000 m2 of retail space over three levels with ~100 retailers – they are saying they have a big name international retailer not currently in NZ already lined up.
  • Along with the CRL tunnels there will be additional parking which I imagine will be primarily used by commercial tenants as there 278 carparks all up.
  • There is a 6m wide east-west lane through the development located on centreline of Britomart. It will be open 24/7 and link the train station to the new bus interchange being built on Albert St.

Work is due to start on demolishing the current mall in June and they will build this section of the City Rail Link through the site – linking it to the separate works along Albert St and at Britomart. They say they expect the retail to open in October 2018 and the office tower will be completed in mid 2019

Here are some more images they’ve provided

Corner of Queen and Customs Streets

Combined with the CRL Lower Queen St outside Britomart will be pedrestrianised. With the development occurring over QE Square which was sold by the council.

Lower Queen Street - public space and facade

The retail part of the development certainly has a boxy feel to it.

Lower Queen Street - East-West Laneway

And a video of it all.

61 comments to Commercial Bay

  • Alex

    All the other building looks really ugly. Apart from the Vero and Sky tower, all the other Auckland skyscrappers are just ordinary and nothing different to add to the skyline.

  • KLK

    It’s true we are not Shanghai or Beijing or London in terms of skyscraper design.

    But this one, I think, is rather elegant and might set a new benchmark.

  • Grant

    It’s an exciting development that looks very impressive . Will be great to bring in more international brands.. Aramani, Burberry will be awesome!

  • nzman

    Yes it’s true! Auckland has a few plain buildings, but remember what’s on the drawing board – St James, NDG, Mansons etc. These combined will really change the skyline in a positive way.

  • Max

    Shame the restaurants aren’t on the roof, as far as I can tell. Some more skyscraper restaurants would be a nice touch. Like the roof curvature, even if it seems style only, with no other function?

  • Matthew

    They should build an observation floor at the top, like the one on top of One WTC. That would be popular.

  • Atooga

    NDG is just about the most dated, ungainly design out there. Fingers crossed it doesn’t go ahead.

    This looks like a real quality addition though it is effectively just a square tower. I like it a lot.

  • JBM

    I like how they’ve named it Commercial Bay, the original name of the place back in the 19th century. 10,000 workers on the waterfront will bring massive new vibrancy to Auckland’s “front window”, and of course pack out the CRL stations.

  • Bruce

    “they are saying they have a big name international retailer not currently in NZ already lined up.”
    Apple Store anyone? They love their big glass exterior walls and good locations.

  • Dee

    This is really exciting, I too like the name with a nod to the past, and I like the design based on the images produced to date. While I have no doubt of the long-term benefits, it’s definitely going to be a major pain in the derriere negotiating getting to work and city-based events while this and everything else is happening! Also the loss of retail and food outlets at Downtown Mall – I see Life Pharmacy has recently opened a store on Queen St (albeit much smaller and 2 storey), presumably in preparation for the mall closing in June. I know there’s a mini ‘container’ shopping mall planned for Queens Wharf, but you do wonder where other retailers will find space to relocate to, The Warehouse for example? If Albert Street weren’t being impacted by CRL works, it would be good to see that area revitalised. Or parts of Hobson Street. Maybe those retailers will give up on the CBD until the new mall opens. Interesting times ahead.

  • Dear Quay West residents,
    You may wish to sell your north facing apartment now, and relocate to a west facing unit, before this is built.
    you pal,
    Nick
    (former resident)

    • …although I suspect they’ve enjoyed such a capital gain since purchase they can probably take the hit (wish I’d never sold mine in 2002*)
      [*said almost every Auckland property owner, ever]

    • JeffT

      Yeah I see a few of the North ones coming on the market lately, Nick. It’s a competition for the harbour views.

      Please give us a decent pedestrian area down there and get it all built as quickly as possible.

  • James Howitt

    There is a problem that an area like that becomes souless after closing time.

    • RHarris

      This is why I prefer shared spaces in certain places instead of pedestrianising. In quiet times they feel unsafe.

    • KLK

      But with retail in NZ shutting at 6pm, what’s the alternative? 24hr bars only?

      I think a combination of restaurants, the odd bar and those working in the tower leaving late and people passing through on their way to the various transport options, it will be as good as anywhere after dark.

      Agree on shared spaces = safety.

      • Nick R

        Retail doesn’t all close at 6pm, and certainly doesn’t have to. I imagine that this end of town will rapidly become like most downtowns in larger world cities, where retailing is mostly open through to 9pm or later and many places much later than that.

        The marginal cost of keeping a shop open later must be pretty low, just a (smaller) staff and power. Already paid for the lease, stock, advertising, backend and other overheads. Why not keep it ticking over with a few uni students behind the till and capture some of the not insignificant crowds still around in the evening. Won’t take long for retailers to catch up.

        • Chris Randal

          “The marginal cost of keeping a shop open later must be pretty low, just a (smaller) staff and power. ”

          And a staff who are willing to work for that pittance that retail pays, and who are prepared to travel home in the dark.

          • Sailor boy

            So anyone of a couple of hundred thousand people

          • Indeed Chris, and with around 30.000 university students based in the city centre you have the perfect labour pool. That’s tens of thousands of people who are willing to work part time and don’t expect the wages of a skilled worker, and best of all they are occupied during the day so prefer to work evenings and weekends. It’s ideal.

      • David Lupton

        Yes but why does it close at 6pm? Moving to the world standard – shops open from 10am to 10pm – would help relieve road congestion and spread the load for public transport.

  • Peter Nunns

    39,000 m2 of commercial office space, 18,000 m2 of retail space, and 278 carparks. That’s quite something.

    By comparison, the old Auckland district plan required one carpark for every 40m2 of office space or every 17m2 of retail space. If minimum parking requirements hadn’t been removed from the CBD in the late 1990s, this development would have required over 2000 carparks – seven times as much parking. Given that it costs $30-50,000 to build parking under highrises, parking requirements would have cost this development up to $100 million.

    It’s no wonder that the city centre only revitalised once MPRs were removed.

  • Lloyd

    Does Auckland need 278 more car parks with the CRL?

    • nonsense

      those are CEOs carparks. for people who don’t mix with the plebs

    • Scott

      278 is actually a relatively small number, given how huge this development is. The pre 1990’s rules would have required around 2000 spaces as pointed out above.

      At 15m^2 per office worker, 39000M^2 of office space would accommodate 2600 workers, and that’s not counting the 18,000m^2 of retail space.

      The 278 car-parks will likely be used for:
      – a few contractor / delivery / courier / Truck loading dock spaces like are in the fort street level of vero (You don’t really want these vehicles double parked outside the main door of your flash mall/ office tower)
      – Pool cars spaces for the office tenants. (these vehicles often get used by multiple people a day, not really fair to charge clients hundreds of dollars an hour while there accountant walks to a distant car-park to get the company car for a site visit to say an east tamaki factory, not really fair to charge them the taxi fare either)
      – Visitor car-parks for some professional services firms in the office tower. (You want to make life as easy a possible for your client when they are paying $500+ per hour to attend a meeting with a few of your staff)
      – The odd CEO / Executive / shop owner / restaurant owner. (People who have the power to refuse to sign lease agreements unless they get what they want (often from the older generation))

      I doubt there will be any spaces left for general staff, or public paid parking after the above are accommodated.

  • Lloyd

    Highest building right down on the waterfront. Screams of “F**k You I am standing up a at the movies and everyone behind me can forget about the view”. Auckland should have a sloping maximum height plane up from the waterfront to maximise upper floors with water views,

    Also what are the mechanisms to keep this as a useful building after 2 or 3 metres of sea level rise? Would we be better off if the big capital investments were restricted to higher than 60m above sea level?

  • Martin

    The retail looks surprisingly similar to Westfield Shepherds Bush in London.

  • This is huge and hugely exciting, and exactly the kind of direction that will enable Auckland to perform this century. We have to continue reshaping AKL into the more efficient and exciting urban place it can become:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11559888

    And the CRL is the enabler of it all, without it, and it’s going to be difficult every month before it opens, those thousands people at this development will be struggling to access downtown efficiently.

    But more spatially efficient Transit and more people living on the city will be needed as well. This announcement surely pushes the LRT plans closer too.

    Excellent news.

  • Jonty

    Any more details on the bus depot that’s to be built on Albert St?

    • Sailor boy

      Upgraded bus stop. Different to a depot, if you search for Albert st in former posts there is one about it. Basically all the now and northern buses that use fanshawe will use an upgraded car free stop in lower albert

  • Don M

    The East-West Laneway looks like it is all for effect with little attempt at practicality. As it runs east-west unless the Albert St end is enclosed it will be a fantastic wind tunnel. Add to that the lack of effective rain shelter I can imagine the area rather dismal site in anything other than the architectural standard shown above. ie blue sky summers day.

    • Warren S

      Absolutely agree Don M. I suspect some very clever architectural tweaking is essentially necessary here.

    • Sailor boy

      No rain cover except for the clearly visible roof

      • Warren S

        More concerned about the potential wind tunnel effect (rather than rain) especially at the western end……………..time will tell.

      • Don M

        The ‘clearly visible roof’ appears higher than the current concourse one which is virtually useless in wet weather. The open end of the proposed shelter will be as much use. Looking at the aerial view the western end of the lane will line up with the gap between the current PWC tower and AMP tower further ‘enhancing’ the wind tunnel.
        As this is an access to the station and buses it seem odd to make it as inhospitable as possible. The removal of the pedestrian underpass from the station also appears strange as its inclusion and extension could have funneled shoppers directly into the new shopping mall.

        • The underpass has to be removed as part of CRL construction works (it’s in the way) and the only purpose for it was to get people Queen St rather than do it between buses – which is what people do anyway as most would rather be at the surface. With the road being made a public space and no buses to contend with there’s no need for it to be rebuilt.

          • Atooga

            Huh? If I need to transfer from a train at Britomart to a bus on Albert, wouldn’t a pedestrian underpass be better? But nah, as usual Auckland’s bus system is neglected and will be a scattered mess.

            I always liked the idea from a few years back of undergrounding Quay Street – though extending that idea of undergrounding AND bus-only Quay Street – and have a pedestrian/plaza/park at street level.

            Ahhhh Auckland, so many ideas. And so much stomping on bus usability. But we get shiny new trams and trains so who cares about the 80% right?

          • Why would you need an underpass when there is no traffic to contend with, just a walk across a plaza then down a laneway. Same thing will be for light rail.

  • Why does every building in Auckland need a hat? This is a nice, simple, looking building. But the big bill board that extends up from its top floor does seem awfully spiteful. Its like extending one of the walls of your house up higher than the roof just to block views without even providing you any more useful space. Is it going to be covered in solar panels? Anything other than a big PWC logo?

    • Atooga

      Go to Melbourne to see what happens when towers don’t have a designed “hat” – flat tops and utility boxes. Ugly as sin and oh-so-depressing.

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