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Auckland Council cuts deal with mall owner over rail link

Busy Downtown Shopping Centre right in the path of City Rail Link.

Niko Kloeten
Mon, 08 Jul 2013

Auckland Council has made a deal with the owner of Downtown Shopping Centre to co-ordinate the timing of the mall’s re-development with the city rail link.

The former Westfield mall, now owned by property investment firm Precinct Properties, sits on land required to build and operate the City Rail Link.

Precinct plans to knock down the building and build a new shopping centre with a tower office block on the site and it is hoping to start from 2016.

This is in line with Auckland Council’s preferred start date for the $2.86 billion project, which the government wants to start from 2020.

The deal with the council was announced today at a celebration of the Britomart train station’s tenth birthday.

It will mean the council won’t have to buy the property, saving ratepayers tens of millions of dollars, according to Auckland mayor Len Brown.

The original cost was estimated at $90 million but it will now cost only about a quarter of that, he says.

"The City Rail Link will be a catalyst for urban redevelopment throughout the city centre and this is a good example of that. The council will continue to work with key commercial and property interests to achieve growth and development for our city," Mayor Brown says.

Two rail lines will punch out of Britomart and be built below QEII Square and Downtown before curving under Albert Street as they head to connect with the existing rail line at Mt Eden.

Auckland Council Property Ltd (ACPL) chief executive David Rankin says co-ordination to advance the CRL at the same time as Precinct begins redevelopment would be a constructive outcome for the city.

"While there are many issues to work through, the parties will give it their best shot to ensure a win/win deal is put together to secure the tunnel route for the City Rail Link while enabling a new retail and office development to be built.

"I look forward to the redevelopment of Downtown given the importance of strengthening retailing and providing quality office space for the growing number of businesses choosing to locate in the city centre."

Precinct chief executive Scott Pritchard says Precinct has had a strategy of focusing on the city’s harbour front area for some time.

"Precinct has been a long-standing supporter of the CRL and the council’s City Centre Masterplan.

"We welcome the chance to work together with the council in advancing their vision for the CRL and ours for the future of this location, which we see as offering a unique opportunity to create a special area in the heart of the city."

Niko Kloeten
Mon, 08 Jul 2013
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Auckland Council cuts deal with mall owner over rail link