8 May 2014

Waterfront project gets Australian help

11:24 am on 8 May 2014

A group of wealthy Australians is floating a plan to foot most of the bill for a multi-million commercial redevelopment of a key part of Auckland's prime waterfront.

The Ferry Project Group wants to put two large buildings on Queen's Wharf in return for upgrading the downtown ferry terminal - demolishing the landmark Cloud but leaving the upgraded Shed 10.

Spokesperson Sir Noel Robinson said there was some great work happening on the waterfront and something needed to be done with what he regarded as the hub of the area.

Len Brown.

Len Brown. Photo: RNZ

He said the project would cost up to $60 million, and there would need to be some ratepayer contribution.

Sir Noel said the backers were happy to come forward if the people of Auckland think the project should progress.

The mayor of Auckland Len Brown says the idea will be considered, but only one thing is certain at the moment.

"Whatever we do with Queen's Wharf we will not ever sell the underlying freehold. There is a development project on Queen's Wharf, if private funding is used it will be developed on top of very, very long leases."

Len Brown says he personally likes the Cloud building that's on the wharf at the moment, but it is not a permanent structure.

A central Auckland business lobby says any plans for the wharf need to include plenty of public space.

Chief executive of the Heart of the City group, Alex Swney, says development is welcome, but the public must be central to the plans.