Waterfront may get 'Meridian-style' buildings
Two "Meridian-style buildings" could be built on Wellington's waterfront after public opposition scuttled a planned six-storey office building.
Wellington Waterfront is going back to the drawing board to develop a new design brief for the North Kumutoto site, after an Environment Court decision knocked back proposed rule changes governing the shape and size of developments.
Addressing the Wellington City Council this morning, Wellington Waterfront chief executive Ian Pike and the council's strategy, planning and urban design director Teena Pennington told councillors a new design brief for the area would now be developed, incorporating the rulings over variation 11.
But the loss of commercial revenue because previously planned developments could not go ahead meant the waterfront company would need to borrow a further $5.58 million.
The council is in the midst of discussions to finalise its long-term plan, which sets budgets for the next 10 years.
In April the Environment Court ruled against the council's district plan change "Variation 11", which set maximum size limits for three proposed building sites on an eight-hectare site at North Kumutoto, between Queens Wharf and Wellington railway station. Under the proposed rules, developers could have built up to 30 metres in height without public consultation.
But the court ruled in favour of opponents, saying it would negatively impact heritage values. Instead, it slashed the proposed maximum heights to 22 metres on site 10, 19m and 16m for site 9, and that site 8 should remain as public space.
Mr Pike told councillors today that a previously planned six-storey building Newcrest Group office building, earmarked for land opposite the New Zealand Post offices was no longer possible, but two buildings similar to the Meridian Building could be envisaged for the area.
"Since Variation 11 [decision] we have had a lot of interest from developers in regards to those sites and their development."
Ms Pennington said the Waterfront Framework would now need to be changed to include a new design brief for North Kumutoto encapsulated the court's rulings.
Design and consent work for buildings on sites 9 and 10 could then go ahead. Developing site 8 as a public space would cost about $2m and would be done once works was completed on the other sites.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown asked if the objectors to Variation 11 could be included in the design brief development, and Ms Pennington said there was a "significant opportunity".
However, because budgeted commercial revenue from those sites would not be coming, the waterfront company would need to extend its loan from the council by $5.58m over the next two years to fund planned work - including the strengthening of wharf piles.
That should be paid back from commercial proceeds in 2013/14.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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