University “Expanding” to Newmarket
It has come out in the media that the University of Auckland has bought the former Lion Nathan Brewery site in Newmarket to expand (and relocate) its operations.
From the NZH:
By Anne Gibson 3:00 PM Thursday Sep 13, 2012
The University of Auckland is shutting its Epsom and Tamaki campus hubs and buying a big Newmarket site where it will educate and house some of its growing student population base.
New Zealand’s biggest tertiary organisation had confirmed that it wanted to buy the ex-Lion Breweries site in Newmarket and consolidate many operations there, while retaining its Auckland CBD and Grafton campus sites.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon issued the statement at 3pm, saying the university had entered into a conditional agreement to purchase the 5.2ha former Lion Breweries site in Newmarket, in what is potentially its most significant property acquisition in a generation.
AMP tried to buy the site last decade for about $160 million but ditched those plans when the global financial crisis hit, leaving Lion with the land, after the brewery and food business shifted its hub to South Auckland.
If successful, the university said it would use the Newmarket site as the basis for long-term development of a mixed use campus, “with space for purpose-built teaching and research facilities, student accommodation, business development and other facilities”, it said.
This strategic move would eventually see the university consolidate its activities at the City, Grafton and Newmarket campuses, benefiting city life and bringing in new commercial opportunities, the statement said.
Epsom would shift to the City Campus while Tamaki would shift to Newmarket.
McCutcheon said the site presented a major new opportunity, integral to the university’s growth strategy for the next 50 years. The Newmarket site offered long term growth potential close to the City and Grafton campuses, he said.
“In order to support and sustain our ambitious growth path, the university needs to build or acquire additional space at a rate of about 6000sq m of gross floor area per annum for the foreseeable future,” he said.
The City and Grafton Campuses could sustain only 10 to 15 years of growth.
“The Newmarket site provides a significant opportunity for the university to manage its growth requirements over the next 50 years. The site’s benefits include proximity to the City and Grafton campuses, the opportunity to integrate campus development, shared major transport routes with the City and Grafton campuses and additional space for student accommodation and other facilities to name a few,” he said.
Should the university proceed with the acquisition, it would need to exit the Tamaki Campus in part or whole in order to rationalise its campus holdings both to help pay for, and maximise the benefits of, the new site.
Chancellor Roger France said the University Council was enthusiastic about the prospect of acquiring the Newmarket site.
“This is a wonderful opportunity not only to secure the university’s growth path for the foreseeable future on a site close to the existing campuses, but also for the redevelopment of a site that is of critical importance to the City,” he said.
The university was now conducting due diligence on the site and a decision on whether to go unconditional would be made at the council meeting next April, France said.
* This story has been changed because an earlier version stated that Auckland University would shift both its Epsom and Tamaki campuses to Newmarket. In fact, the Epsom campus will be shifted to the City Campus, not Newmarket.
For those wondering this is where the Newmarket site will be:
With this proposal going ahead and having the massive potential for urban renewal and consequences to transport movements (good and bad) it is time to revisit the City Rail Link especially The East Link at the Mt Eden end of the CRL tunnel.
Grafton and in part Newmarket Stations would be the prime stations for students, staff and visitors to the Newmarket campus moving thousands of people on top of the amount of people (Auckland Hospital, St Peters College, Auckland Girls Grammar, Newmarket workers or residents, and those who use Newmarket to transfer between Southern/Onehunga and the Western Lines) that already use these busy stations. The location of this new campus is also prime for the fact it sits right in the middle of major road (private and public transport) and rail thoroughfares meaning accessibility is near if not at maximum for the site. However the expected increase of the concentration of people at Newmarket or moving to and from Newmarket because of this new campus means the existing transit networks will struggle.
Enter the City Rail Link to solve the problem.
I have always be a supporter of the City Rail Link albeit with modifications such as: construction time lines, funding, staging the development and operation plans once the CRL is up and running. The news of the University of Auckland effectively relocating Tamaki Campus to the Newmarket site strengthens the case for the CRL especially The East Link more than ever. However the construction time line I have proposed (start date between 2018 and 2022 with completion around seven to eight years later for the entire project) to allow debate, funding and progression of my Rail Efficiency Program could be altered depending on when Auckland University wishes to start building and operating on their new Newmarket site. I gather though development will not be until the end of the decade which means my original construction time line remains intact. BUT if Auckland Uni speeds things up then even I will admit the CRL timetable MUST be brought forward to around 2016 at the earliest.
Although once the CRL is open, the question is which operation plan would be best pre-North Shore Line (meaning the North Shore Line is not built or running yet). Well already I have developed and posted in a three-part series (and still ongoing) as part of the wider City Rail Link Series here at BR:AKL
These are the subsequent three posts in the ongoing CRL Operation Plan and wider City Rail Link Series Debate:
I still have work to do on the CRL Timetable and Operation Plan as I work on shuttles and Manukau Station but you can see the beginning of the basics of an operation plan that would move the increased passengers around Newmarket-Grafton efficiently and quickly.
Constructive feedback is welcome in the comments section below.
But good on the University of Auckland as this will be a boon for Newmarket and surrounds. Further more what the University of Auckland has done in my opinion has just strengthened the case for the CRL one hundred fold against the dithering of Central Government. Auckland Council and Auckland Transport must still do their part properly with their end of the CRL so that they can’t be blamed for snags and failures.
Interesting times ahead!