Bayswater Marina project shrunk from 250 to 121 dwellings, new $300m scheme lodged

Plans to develop part of a site beside an existing Auckland marina and ferry terminal have been downsized from 250 to 121 dwellings after strong local opposition.

Marina owner Simon Herbert’s business has applied to Auckland Council to develop 94 terraced homes and 27 apartments in three buildings at Bayswater Marina in a new scheme thought to be worth about $300 million.

Around 350 people could live on the site under the revised plan, the application says.

“The previous proposals for up to 250 units, while providing for the intensification sought across Auckland, did not find favour with some parties in terms of bulk, mass, landscape and amenity at the site. The revised design proposed with this application has purposely tried to address these concerns,” the application said.

“The new scheme is for 17 groups of terraced houses, up to 12m or four storeys high,complying with the 12m maximum height requirements of the Auckland Unitary Plan,” it said.

Bayswater Marina Holdings has applied to redevelop only around half the reclaimed land it owns beside the marina, ferry terminal and extensive carparking areas for the public and boaties.

“The redevelopment, to be named Bayswater Maritime Precinct, will involve the upgrading of the existing public open spaces and recreation facilities, improved access to the seaward edge of the Bayswater Precinct, and the establishment of a residential community in new buildings adopting a terraced housing/apartment typology,” the application said.

Existing marina berthage areas will be untouched and associated car parking and marine-related commercial activities will be upgraded.

Herbert told the Herald today the business had reacted to feedback on the previous 250-unit residential scheme.

“It has been a long time coming. We have listened hard to the community and its desires for the land and also to the council and the Unitary Plan provisions that relate to the property.

“We have planned for individually designed terraced houses and three small apartment buildings of nine apartments each,” he said.

The terraced houses are to be designed by different architects to give a varied landscape, “so we don’t end up with a typical cookie-cutter type terraced house outcome – a similar idea to Vinegar Lane in Ponsonby and to the famous Borneo Sporenberg development in Amsterdam, but of course, designed by New Zealand architects.

“We have presented a proposal which is less intensive than previously planned consisting of very significant public spaces including boardwalks, parks and cafes, including a beautifully sculpted and generous esplanade.

“We have retained and enhanced the marina and access to it as well as providing for permanent marina offices, a chandlery and car and boat trailer parking.

“It’s a fabulous location and opportunity for a new small community right next to the ferry terminal and only seven minutes to the CBD by ferry and will of course contribute in a small way to the housing shortage,” Herbert said.

Empire Capital has spent close to $50 million for land at Hobsonville Marina, Pine Harbour Marina and Bayswater Marina with plans to develop apartments, cafes and shopping areas.

In 2018, the Herald reported the Auckland Marina Users Association opposed plans to change marina areas with housing developments but Herbert said the Unitary Plan encouraged regeneration of barren marina carparks with new waterfront developments.

The association opposed the sale of land around waterfronts by public bodies but Herbert said use could be improved by development.

The application says the Bayswater O’Neill’s Pt site at 21 Sir Peter Blake Pde is 3.3ha and is adjacent to the 11ha 418-berth marina, which became operational in 1998.

The marina protrudes about half a kilometre into the harbour.

The ferry terminal enables passengers to get from the Shore to the CBD within about eight minutes and Herbert’s scheme is to capitalise on that by developing housing at the major commuter hub.

As it stands today, 310 carparks are for the sole use of berth holders, for public boat ramp and ferry users. Existing carparks for marina berths will be replaced with new carparks. More parking will be built for the public and visitors.

“The proposed development will transform the landscape of the Bayswater Marina from a surfacecarpark and hard surface-dominated hardstand to a high-quality public realm designed as an amenity for the Bayswater community, users of the site (berth holder, ferry, boat ramp) and future residents,” the proposal says.

Development is planned to initially remove existing buildings and structures and build first at the southern end of the reclaimed site.

Climate change has been taken into account, and the scheme complies with Unitary Plan provisions to allow for a 1m sea level rise as well as storm inundation.

“The apartments and terraces will maximise resource and infrastructure efficiency, and will respond to climate change effects by ensuring no habitable floors are floodable from the sea, even with 1m of sea level rise,” the application says.

Local feedback to the plan on social media raised concerns about an extra 350 people “driving on Lake Rd”, the congested Takapuna-Devonport arterial route. Concerns were also raised about berth holders’ carparking but Herbert stressed this would be unaffected.

Consent is yet to be granted to the marina plans.

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