Sam Eichblatt visits the Wynyard Quarter, or Tank Farm, one of New Zealand’s largest ever urban renewal projects.
August 11th, 2011
The traditional criticism levelled at Auckland is that, while it has all the natural advantages — harbours, beaches, gently sloping volcanic cones and greenery — its sprawling, car-centric horizontal development has left the inner city with little in the way of life and soul.
The lack of public access to the water that surrounds it on nearly every side is a particular sticking point. Much of it is tied up in commercial freight facilities belonging to the Port of Auckland. However, August saw the public opening of Wynyard Quarter, popularly known as the Tank Farm.
Located on prime waterfront land, the 26-hectare former industrial facility is the site of one of the largest urban renewal projects ever undertaken in the country.
5 years in the making, and with a price tag of NZ$120 million, the first stage of the mixed-use development includes a new events centre designed by Gordon Moller (who also designed Auckland’s love-it-or-hate-it Sky Tower), 9 restaurants and bars, a footbridge linking to the Viaduct and Silo Park, an urban greenspace overlooking the water and featuring the 35-metre Golden Bay cement silo to mark its industrial past.
Viaduct Events Centre
The neighbourhood adjacent to the Tank Farm has undergone a similar transformation, mixing urban history with future planning.
Jellicoe Street, which runs parallel to the water, has been turned into a tree-lined boulevard, and tram tracks have been installed in the surrounding area, in preparation of the arrival of 2 trams currently being restored at the Bendigo Tramway Museum in Victoria.
Further stages will deliver apartments, plazas, shops and offices, alongside the local existing marine and fishing activity, with the goal of giving the city the harbourside community it currently lacks.
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