The wait to begin the regeneration of Glen Eden is almost over following Auckland Council’s purchase of 202-208 West Coast Road for the creation of a civic space.
The purchase of the building, for $3.8 million, signals the beginning of a process that will eventually see a civic heart of the town centre created where people can enjoy spending time, relaxing, socialising or celebrating with community events.
Waitākere Ranges Local Board Deputy Chair, Saffron Toms, says that the purchase marks the beginning of the realisation of 35 years of council plans and promises to the community.
“For decades many people have worked towards this moment. Every time the community have been asked the overwhelming feedback has been that this needs to happen, so this news couldn’t have come sooner,” she says.
“Earlier this year, Waitākere Ranges Local Board chose to advocate for the Glen Eden upgrade proposal to the council’s Governing Body as our one allowed advocacy point. We were delighted when it was adopted as part of the 10-year Budget.
“When the building came on the market earlier in the year, as budget was already allocated to Glen Eden, the council could enter negotiations and, ultimately, buy the building."
“Buying this building is a foundation of the real commitment by the Mayor and councillors, who hold the purse strings, to this significant revitalisation project," Toms says.
“As a board, we have been advocating for this since we were elected, and we are really pleased that we can now start to move forward and regenerate the town centre.
“With the growth expected in the area in the coming years, it’s crucial that Glen Eden has a civic space for the community to use. Not only will it make the area more pleasant and attractive to spend time, which will provide benefits in itself, it will also make a well-connected civic space.”
While the building is currently tenanted, and with final budgets still to be agreed, tenants should be reassured that nothing will change immediately, she says.
“We know that this could be unsettling for current tenants in the building, but I want to reassure existing occupants that their business need not be affected in the short to medium-term.
"The board hopes that when plans are finalised and development begins, the businesses remain part of the Glen Eden fabric, both benefiting from and contributing to the new space.”
Waitākere Ward Councillors Linda Cooper and Penny Hulse welcomed the purchase.
“With forecasts predicting a rapid growth of Glen Eden and following changes in the Unitary Plan to allow for greater intensification of the area, we know that improvements to the town centre will be needed,” says Councillor Cooper.
Councillor Penny Hulse agrees and says it goes hand in hand with some of the changes that have already taken place in the centre.
“We have seen improvements to the library and the park and ride in recent years, while 2019 will see safety improvements and traffic calming on West Coast Road and improvements to the Western Train line services making the area easier to get to.
"When the City Rail Link is complete, it will significantly reduce the travel time into the CBD. Glen Eden is one of the main beneficiaries of these changes and will undoubtedly be viewed as a more attractive place to live so this move is both much needed and welcome.”
Waitākere Ranges Local Board Chair, Greg Presland holds a lease for office space in the building, and has not been part of any decision making to this point.
The purchase, which was agreed in September, tenancies and building management is being managed by Panuku Development Auckland, the council’s development arm. Letters advising tenants of the change in ownership were sent in October.