Public car park could go for private development
A free public car park in a prime commercial location might soon make way for private development.
A 3,384 square metre west Auckland parking spot, part of a "business-metropolitan centre" under the city's unitary plan, may be "disposed" within the current financial year.
The land located at 3 Memorial Drive, near Lynn Mall, was valued at $3.8 million and had at least 70 free public parking spaces with a 60-minute parking limit.
A disposals recommendation report by Panuku Development, Auckland Council's urban regeneration agency, said a review of the area found the council-owned land was surplus to needs.
It also said the site was subject to a joint development agreement between Auckland Council and Infratil Infrastructure Property Limited which gave the company first rights to develop it once council released the land.
The report, which was presented to the Whau Local Board on March 22, sought endorsement for Panuku's suggestion to the council's finance and performance to "divest" the two parking areas.
Divestment means the sale or transfer of a property, a Panuku spokesperson said.
But chairman of the finance and performance committee, Ross Clow, said he understood the land would be sold to Infratil.
One of the car parks was located behind New Lynn library. Both sections are surrounded by a number of shops and restaurants.
Tracy Mulholland, chairwoman of the Whau Local Board, said the board endorsed Panuku's proposal only if future designs included parking options for the site.
Tim Wadley who owned Pita Pit on McCrae Way said the parking site across from his business was a major reason he chose the location two years ago.
He said many of his customers used the Memorial Dr space and losing it completely, or partially, would hurt his business.
Clow, who was also councillor of the Whau Ward, said there was a chance the new development would contain some parking, but nothing was confirmed yet.
He said there was paid parking available at the multi-purpose building at 1 McCrae Way above Pita Pit.
Wadley said the building - with about 200 parking spots - was usually "chocker", with the first floor reserved for the medical centre on the premises and the fourth floor reserved for residents.
Clow said the idea was to make people "think twice before travelling by car".
Wadley said during busy times such as Christmas even mall parking was "bursting at the seams" and without the Memorial Dr parking things could get tighter.
He said he agreed with the concept, but said for shoppers public transport was often not a viable option.
"Who would want to carry their bags of shopping on the bus or train?"
Mulholland said ample parking was essential for a thriving retail area such as New Lynn.
The Whau Local Board endorsed Panuku's proposal to sell the site to a private developer after community consultation on March 22.
In addition to the parking study, the board recommended provisions such as covered verandas and walkways, a "vibrant" and visually interesting design and development.