210 City Properties To Go – 70 More affected-$2.86 Billion Cost

This is eye-watering news indeed which hasn’t made the headlines as yet.

I predict the mother-of-all-bun-fights breaking out over who will resist, who will jump at the chance, who will miss out and who gets what. Then there is the question of noise, vibration and disruption of traffic and pedestrian access not to mention affected businesses, loss of trade, goodwill and livelihoods. It’s going to be an interesting few years.

from Bob Dey report published 3 July 2012
Auckland Transport has identified a route for the city rail link which will require the purchase of 210 surface properties and underground parts of another 70.

The council-controlled transport organisation unveiled its route today. The first building to be affected on the route west out of Britomart will be Westfield (NZ) Ltd’s Westfield Downtown shopping centre.

Westfield NZ director Justin Lynch said the shopping centre building’s future would be the subject of ongoing discussions with Auckland Council Property Ltd. Westfield was granted resource consent in 2008 to further develop the property, including a highrise office building. At the time of this approval there were no plans for the rail loop. The consent lapses in 2018.

The rail link will have 3 stations and extend the line underground through Britomart, under Albert, Vincent & Pitt Sts, then beneath Karangahape Rd & the central motorway junction to Symonds St, before rising to join the western line near Eden Terrace.

The council has budgeted for land acquisition, with the support of the Government, but the Government has not extended its support beyond that and has given no indication it would pay the 50% of the estimated $2 billion cost which the council is asking it for (rising to $2.86 billion inflated to year of the spend and including extra electric multiple units – EMUs, which comprise 3 cars).

Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton said the organisation had started to make contact with directly affected landowners before seeking planning protection for the route.

Mayor Len Brown left a message for the city as he left today on a trade mission to Samoa & Tonga: “The rail link won’t just provide a convenient train line below the city centre. It will unleash the potential of the entire suburban rail network, increasing frequency, reliability & speed of trains across all of Auckland.”

Mr Warburton said the proposed 3 new stations would be in the vicinity of the Aotea Centre, Karangahape Rd & Newton, and there would be an inner-west interchange next to New North Rd at Eden Terrace. The design allows for a future North Shore line to connect at Aotea.

2 3.5km twin tunnels from Britomart would start 11m below ground at Britomart, continuing 13m below ground at Aotea, 33m below ground at Karangahape Rd and 42m below ground at Newton.

Mr Warburton said the tunnel & stations would require the purchase of surface property from 210 owners (100 residential, 110 commercial), and underground portions of land from 70 interests (55 commercial, 15 residential), including 12 unit title developments with multiple owners.

The net cost of acquisitions less sales was estimated at $95 million in 2012 money. “As much as possible, the project will be built below city streets to reduce the effects on property owners & city heritage buildings.”

Planning & property transactions have been given a 3-year timeframe, construction 5 years for a target of opening in 2020-21.

Bob Dey report

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