New Zealand Commercial Design Trends Series NZ Commercial Design Trends Vol. 30/10A - Page 31

Left and below:Auckland Waterfront chief executive John Dalzell says the organisation’s progressive approach toward urban regeneration has seen Wynyard Quarter win three international awards. Auckland is known as the City of Sails and the city is, in many ways, defined by its harbours and water-based activities. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the waterfront is held incredibly close to many Aucklanders’ hearts. And with the CBD located right on the water’s edge, the waterfront deserves particular attention and creative thinking to realise its potential as a key social, environmental and economic component of the city. Waterfront Auckland recognises that we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to transform the city by regenerating this strategically important area in a holistic, complementary and sustainable way. To meet this goal, we have established a number of frameworks, in consultation with our local communities. These ensure that we have clearly defined outcomes that we aim to achieve with the help of key partners, including the property industry. Right from the outset, Waterfront Auckland has believed that all of us involved in the process need to challenge ourselves and the way we have traditionally approached urban development. By being very clear about our outcomes, in particular the need to create vibrant, diverse and sustainable urban communities, we have completely inverted the normal developer focus. Traditionally, such outcomes are secondary to profits. But we have thrust them to the fore. These outcomes need to be the focus of every development. We are targeting developers who share our vision – those who want to be part of an exciting future creating sustainable, liveable and lively urban communities. Land trade-offs for smart precinct initiatives We see these outcomes as a minimum standard, and are prepared to make trade-offs if the market chooses to innovate and go beyond our established framework. For example, we anticipate trading off land value for smart precinct initiatives that achieve these objectives and show a good cost-benefit ratio. This is something Waterfront Auckland is currently evaluating. If we are comfortable with a proposal, we form a special partnership with a developer whereby we share the risk and the reward. As shown to date with the developers engaged for a mixed-use development on a 3.5ha site in the centre of Wynyard Quarter, this means we share in the success and receive incremental returns, rather than a single, one-off payment for the purchase of the land. Such partnerships are rare in other countries, not just in New Zealand. In fact one would struggle to find any examples of this in Australia. We studied global best practice and visited Singap