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Richmond Centre and Centre City are examples of large existing retail developments adjoining SH44 with a coastal outlook. Given this and their proximity to the city core, both sites are considered to have good redevelopment and/or enhancement potential in support of the city core. Both sites are based on earlier retail models that are more internally focused and accessed by vehicles. More outward and coastal facing redevelopment could occur that better connects our city blocks with the coast and creates vibrant street frontages.
Another redevelopment opportunity is the Bunnings site, more information on this can be found under the coastal precinct.
At its simplest, this means Centre City becoming more fully integrated into the wider city centre and its retail community. Opportunities could be explored along the long lengths of inactive frontage to Molesworth (SH44) and Ariki Street to either ‘punch’ new shop front openings out onto the street or, where the site depth permits, introduce ‘sleeving’ retail development or stand-alone kiosks. Removing Molesworth from its state highway status and layout would certainly help to create frontage that enjoys coastal views.
At its most extreme, longer term the future of Centre City may lie in its comprehensive redevelopment as a street based mixed-use quarter (retail, leisure, residential and office space) fully connected to the wider city centre via an extended Currie Street.
Given the layout of Centre City, essentially in three sections (car park, mall and anchor Farmers store), partial redevelopment might be possible, protecting elements that remain important to a revitalised city centre. For example, retaining the anchor store to the east and main car park building to the west whilst replacing the existing two-storey mall section (and its upper floor car park) with street-based development that allows the city centre to ‘breakthrough’ and meet the coast.
The Richmond Centre, is a single storey retail development, comprising 16 retail units established around a central car parking court. The site is part of the seaward extent of the West End of the city centre, but lacks active street edges.
Many pedestrians walk past the Richmond Centre, along either Queen Street or Egmont Street between Devon Street and the coast. As a result, the site is well located among key destinations and has potential to be redeveloped more intensively and for a wider range of uses that can assist with complementing the visitor, retail, hospitality and residential offer near Puke Ariki.
The Richmond Centre site is comparatively deep and large for a city centre site at 11,050sqm. As a result there is flexibility for use and layout, as well as for pedestrian through-site connections. There are level differences between the site’s Queen Street and Egmont Street edges that could be advantageous when redeveloping, such as to conceal and/or sleeve car parking. There is also potential for the site to provide residential living on upper floors.
Change and redevelopment on this site should provide active street frontages to Queen, Egmont and Molesworth streets in order for the site to contribute positively to the pedestrian environment along this well-traversed link between Devon Street and the coast.
Whilst there is a strategic rationale for redevelopment, it is currently held in a unit title ownership arrangement. As a result, effort will be required to consolidate ownership or gain collaboration via multiple property owners in order to redevelop the site. The site sits upon Puke Ariki Pā, a site and area of significance to Ngāti Te Whiti, highly modified from its natural state and opportunity exists to recognise this in any new development.
The Downtown carpark is earthquake prone. Decisions regarding its future are pending, based on the viability of strengthening the building.
This site represents a key development opportunity in the core of our city centre. Located adjacent to a stretch of the Huatoki identified for further improvement the site also benefits from good access to the road network (specifically SH45).Should the current carpark use be relocated to the city core periphery as part of the wider parking strategy the site would represent a significant long term office/residential opportunity to revitalise the city core. Redevelopment of this Council owned building could act as a flagship for future mixed-use buildings with a strong focus on design quality, Māori design principles, environmental outcomes and street activation.
Future redevelopment of the site would need to carefully consider the relationship to the Huatoki with the opportunity to set the building back from the stream provide a generous public space with greater sunlight reaching the stream. Cafes and bars could line this new stream frontage making it a pleasant place to walk and enjoy the awa. The change in level between Powderham St and the Huatoki (about 7m) creates a design challenge that must be overcome with active frontages onto both the Huatoki and up a floor or two onto Powderham St to the south.
Respect and integration of the Ngāmotu Māori Design Principles and the Huatoki Cultural Framework, as well as collaboration with Ngāti te Whiti through the design and delivery process will ensure the future development responds appropriately to its highly significant location for mana whenua.
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Page last updated: 10:46AM Thu 09 December 2021