New city centre upgrades begin, in co-ordinated sequence of transformational change

Publish Date : 27 Mar 2024
Queen Street Furniture
Queen Street

Auckland’s city centre continues to transform into a greener, safer, more vibrant and better-connected place for businesses, residents, commuters, workers, students and visitors.

The scale, complexity and momentum of positive change the Auckland Council group is leading in the city centre are substantial. Multiple projects have been delivered in a carefully planned sequence in recent years; many in recent months.

Jenny Larking, Auckland Council Head of City Centre Programmes reflects on how far the city centre regeneration has come in the last six months.

“Progress is visible. Momentum is evident. The sense of achievement I’m seeing among our teams on the ground is tangible.

“The Myers Park upgrade is a shining example of how infrastructure and art can come together to create a public place that enriches lives, enhances connectivity and inclusivity and delivers sustainable outcomes for future generations,” she says. More here.

Myers Park Waimahara.

Myers Park Waimahara.

“The new public artwork in upper Federal Street is another example. Eight intricately carved boulders by artist Joe Sheehan support the inclusive feeling and sense of belonging for the community in this street. We have redesigned the street, planted native trees, enhanced lighting and built rain gardens to filter storm water.” More here.

“You can see the new shape of Victoria Street being revealed as Te Hā Noa. It’s becoming a walking and cycling street; a welcoming forecourt at the heart of the city centre. The northern side of the street has opened and we’ve started work on the southern side,” Larking says.

“Finished late last year, Queen Street is delivering a seamless square-to-square experience for walkers, scooter riders and cyclists, and people are appreciating that the planting tells a story.” More here.

“Momentum is building, visibly,” Jenny Larking says.

Projects starting in the next six months, as the next phase of regeneration begins, include:

  • Streetscape work on Albert Street, Kingston Street, and Wellesley Street, with utility and footpath works to Wyndham Street – led by CRL.

  • Wellesley Street Bus Improvements (northern side) and streetscape works around the new Karanga-a-hape Station - led by Auckland Transport.

  • Te Hā Noa - southern side of Victoria Street (Elliott Street to Queen Street), and northern side (High Street to Kitchener Street) – led by Auckland Council.

  • Watercare works - The Midtown Wastewater Diversion project aims to reduce the number of overflows and increase capacity in the wastewater network in midtown.

  • Vector will also be delivering electrical infrastructure improvements in coordination with streetscape works.

  • Tyler Street upgrade and Waitematā Station (Britomart) plaza – delivered by Auckland Council in partnership with CRL.

Te Waihorotiu Station render.

Te Waihorotiu Station render.

Councillor Richard Hills reinforces the council’s commitment to invest in the city centre - above and below ground.

“I want Aucklanders and visitors to feel confident that we are creating welcoming and inclusive streets and spaces, along with underground infrastructure, in a planned and co-ordinated way so that the areas surrounding the stations will be ready for the transformational opening of the City Rail Link in 2026.

“You only have to walk along the waterfront’s recently upgraded streets and spaces, and through the wonderful Te Komititanga, to witness the positive change the council group has achieved. Those spaces are beautiful, meaningful and functional and are so well used by people every day.  

“We know construction can be disruptive but these well-designed transport hubs and connected public spaces through midtown will be well worth the wait.

“The future economic success and resilience of the 4.3 square kilometre city centre is vital, not only for the region but for the country,” Councillor Hills says.

Simon Oddie, Eke Panuku Priority Location Director, City Centre observes that the city centre is humming after a busy and successful summer.

“It’s the only place in the country that can support the quality and quantity of offerings we have here. The city centre is fantastically important for Auckland. That’s why we are working together across the council family to deliver so much transformative change.

Te Komititanga.

Te Komititanga.

“We are also working to ensure people’s experiences, whether they’re here to visit, live, or invest, are positive,” Simon Oddie says.

Learn more about the importance of the city centre economy here.

Take a closer look at some of the projects ahead.

Wellesley and Karangahape

The city centre is at the heart of an integrated transport system which includes buses, trains, walking, cycling, micro-mobility, freight and cars. Currently the city is delivering major transport projects alongside the new City Rail Link and midtown regeneration programme.

New streetscapes are taking shape around both Te Waihorotiu and Karanga-a-hape Stations, and Wellesley Street and Pitt Street are being transformed into convenient and functional transport interchanges.

AT’s Programme Director City Centre, Eric Van Essen says the changes will make accessing both Karangahape Road and midtown easier for Aucklanders.

“When the City Rail Link opens, Karangahape Road and Wellesley Street will be new gateways to the city for thousands of people arriving by train. This creates exciting opportunities to improve the environment around the stations and provide great connections to other modes of transport,” he says.

Work starts 15 April and will be completed late 2025. During construction Wellesley Street is closing to vehicles between Elliott Street and Queen Street, with some bus stops relocated.

Karanga-a-hape Station render.

Karanga-a-hape Station render.

Tyler Street and Waitematā Station (Britomart) plaza

A temporary station structure behind the Waitematā Station (Britomart), in use since 2017, has now been removed and streetscape work will reinstate the public space: Waitematā Station (Britomart) plaza. Tyler Street will be transformed from a road corridor to an attractive new laneway, connecting Te Komititanga with Britomart and Takutai Square.

The Waitematā Station (Britomart) plaza design has been developed by CRL in partnership with mana whenua and reflects the abundance that the Waitematā once offered. The plaza features high-quality pavers, eight in-ground native trees, a large central seating area designed in partnership with mana whenua, and bollards, trees, cycle racks and benches.

Work starts in May and will be completed in the second half of 2025.

Midtown Wastewater Diversion

Watercare’s Midtown Wastewater Diversion project is designed to enable residential and commercial growth, reduce the risk of overflows into the Waitematā Harbour, safeguard the area’s resilience, and give Aucklanders confidence that our infrastructure in the city centre is fit for purpose into the future. 

The project will be delivered in three stages between July 2024 to December 2026.

Watercare has opted to build the pipeline project in stages to minimise the impact on residents, businesses and traffic flow, allowing better coordination with other projects in midtown including the City Rail Link.

To achieve this, Watercare will install 1.2km of new wastewater pipeline that will start at the corner of Victoria Street East and Queen Street and go up Mayoral Drive and Marmion Street to connect with the established wastewater networks. The project also involves reconfiguring the current wastewater network to better use under-utilised pipes.

Supporting locals

Project teams will continue to engage and support the neighbouring businesses and residents through the ongoing phases of construction and encourage them to make the most of opportunities created by the new public spaces.

The teams also bring vibrant street-level activations to public spaces which have been disrupted by construction or are newly completed. They include Christmas festivities, the inaugural Lunar New Year festival, street health initiatives, a new street art mural on Victoria Street, street-based activity as part of the Auckland Arts Festival, New Zealand Music Month and Africa Month in May and Matariki ki te Manawa in June.

The aim is to bring energy and life into the city centre, inviting people in and enhancing the city centre as a more attractive and safer place to be.

Learn more about the Auckland Council group’s delivery of 15 projects in five years here.

The Pav in Te Komititanga.

The Pav in Te Komititanga.

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