Takapuna will finally get to face the beach that defines it.
Work has started on clearing a half-hectare car park on The Strand and replacing it with cafes and a restaurant pavilion.
Rich lister John Copson's Crown Asia Pacific owns the land but chief executive Chris Arbuckle wouldn't confirm how much the development will cost or who the new tenants would be.
"We're really excited about this. This is a positive thing for Takapuna, this will change Takapuna," he says.
Mr Arbuckle says the development, due to be completed in November 2015, includes improved beach access from Hurstmere Rd shops.
Two multi-coloured walkways inspired by beach towels will complement the beachside outlook of the property, he says.
Car parking on the site will be reduced from the existing 128 spots to 70, Mr Arbuckle says.
The development comes after years of dispute between the council and Crown over possibly realigning The Strand.
Council planners suggested The Strand could go through the Crown car park to free up more beachside reserve land.
In 2011, the council's draft Auckland Plan had $36 million set aside for ‘The Strand realignment including car park, streetscape and acquisition.
But council plans clashed with Crown's, which owns tens of millions of dollars worth of property that backs on to The Strand.
Crown shelved its original $250m complex and has adopted an "intermediate approach" by first focusing on redeveloping the car park, Mr Arbuckle says.
Mr Arbuckle says it's possible negotations could still continue about The Strand realignment.
North Shore councillor Chris Darby says Crown's development forces the council to go back to the drawing board with its plans but also creates a new opportunity.
A new road could could be built around it, he says.
Mr Darby welcomes Crown's development.
"It brings life to a dead edge of the commercial centre, overlooking a very lively beachfront," Mr Darby says.
- North Shore Times
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