The statue of Lord Freyberg has been temporarily removed and construction has started on upgrading one of Auckland’s best-loved shared urban spaces - Freyberg Place and the Ellen Melville Centre.
The $10.71 million project, funded by the Waitemata Local Board and the City Centre Targeted Rate, will create a vibrant community hub in the heart of the inner city that is child friendly and appealing to local residents, businesses and visitors.
The upgrade will cater for the growing number of city centre residents that has tripled to more than 34,000 over the past 12 years.
The new layout of Freyberg Place will be more accommodating with extra seating options, new paving and the planting of New Zealand natives, including pohutakawa and nikau palms.
Ellen Melville upgrade
The Ellen Melville Centre will also get a much needed facelift. Named after Eliza Ellen Melville – the first female city councillor in New Zealand and one of the country’s first women lawyers – the community centre was built in 1962 as a popular location to socialise and have meetings.
Once completed, the new centre will provide a range of facilities for the public including a new kitchen, Wi-Fi, improved amenities, café-style seating and a modern refurbishment. It will also meet the current seismic and building code requirements.
Construction will result in some traffic and pedestrian disruption, however local businesses will remain open, with Chancery Square and The Metropolis easily accessible.
The upgrades to Freyberg Place and the Ellen Melville Centre are expected to be completed by mid-2017.
As part of Auckland Council’s Heritage Festival programme, a special lunchtime seminar about Lord Freyberg will be held on September 28 at the Metropolis Concourse.