Try and reconcile this one folks
Okay I am not sure what the Council is trying to do but we seem to have an incoming opposing situation in regards to malls or Integrated Retail Developments as being mooted for the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.
First from Council in regards to the new North West Mall:
Celebrating the birth of a new town centre
Auckland Council celebrates the birth of its newest town centre tomorrow – 175 years after the city’s foundations were first laid.
The council has made a long-term investment in the development of the Westgate Town Centre, with significant growth planned over the next five to 10 years.
Mayor Len Brown and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse will join Upper Harbour MP and Local Government Minister Paula Bennett for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9am on Thursday to herald the opening of the first stage – the $155 million NorthWest Shopping Centre.
The mall, built over the past 18 months by Stride Property Ltd, formerly DNZ, is part of the wider development master plan by New Zealand Retail Property Group in collaboration with Auckland Council.
The council has provided key core development infrastructure, including new roads, stormwater ponds and an open spaces networks to facilitate a co-ordinated private sector development.
Auckland Council is also providing public amenities with the first completed project being a new town square – Te Pūmanawa – located in the heart of the town centre to support expansion.
John Dunshea, Auckland Council’s Manager City Transformation Projects, says: “The opening of Te Pūmanawa and the NorthWest Shopping Centre is a great achievement and is part of the long-term development of the Westgate area.
“Planning for the town centre development was completed in 2012 after a long process and is a great example of what can be achieved when the council, community and developers work together.”
The town square is part of the council’s major contribution to the Westgate development and will connect the 26,000sqm NorthWest Shopping Centre to a planned new library and community centre to be located on the western corner of the square.
This 3500sqm multipurpose facility will be a state of the art community hub, combining a library, community spaces and functions in one high-tech building, with construction expected to start in early 2016.
Auckland Council also has ongoing developments proposed over the next few years including a town park, a skate park, and a bus interchange. Park and ride facilities to provide improved public transport links are also in the planning stage.
The District Plan allows for the construction of approximately 1500 residential units and makes provision for a large area of privately-developed commercial land on either side of Northside Drive, which will bring new employment to the area.
There is potential for 10,000 new jobs to be created by the time the development is fully completed.
Te Pūmanawa, the town square, includes a high-quality shared space which allows for cars, but prioritises pedestrian movements to create a friendly environment for shoppers and people enjoying the square.
Shared spaces have been extremely successful in the city centre and will help define the new town centre as easy to get around, a place to meet and somewhere for people to gather and enjoy.
A dawn blessing will take place at Te Pūmanawa on Wednesday 30 September, and the NorthWest Shopping Centre will officially open at 9:00am on Thursday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The opening celebrations will continue all weekend.
$155M NorthWest Shopping Centre opens
Wednesday 30 Sep 2015 5:21 a.m.It may not be on your map yet, but Auckland has just gained itself a new town centre.
Mayor Len Brown will today cut the ribbon on the first major project – a mall – in the new Westgate town development near West Harbour.
The council has provided infrastructure to the area and is now hoping the $155 million NorthWest Shopping Centre will attract families.
The city will also provide a new town square for the area – named Te Pumanawa – which will connect the mall to a planned library and community centre, with construction of 1500 residential units allowed in the district plan.
The development of the North West retail complex has been lauded by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor as progress for the north-west of Auckland which is short of larger employment complexes compared to the rest of Auckland especially the South and its industrial complexes.
But this is where things get complicated. We have a Mayor and Deputy Mayor lauding over a mall (although not the largest in Auckland) yet the proposed provisions in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan would make any new developments of malls (Integrated Retail Developments) would suggest otherwise.
Below is the extract from the Council Planners Closing Remarks for the Business Zones of the Unitary Plan:
INTEGRATED RETAIL DEVELOPMENTS
6.1 At the hearing the Scentre (New Zealand) Ltd, Kiwi Income Property Trust, PSIPIB Ltd and DNZ Ltd presented submissions seeking changes to Policy D3.3.9 to “encourage integrated retail developments” in Metropolitan Centre zones. There was considerable discussion with the Panel as to whether this was appropriate. In particular the Panel raised concerns about the implications of having a complex definition to describe what were colloquially described as “shopping malls” during the hearing.
6.2 The Council maintains its position that referring to integrated retail developments in Policy D3.3.9 is not necessary or appropriate because they do not have a tendency to locate out-of-centre and they are a configuration of retail which should not necessarily be encouraged in preference to alternative configurations such as a “main street”. These concerns were brought into focus through discussions at the hearing.
6.3 In my submission the submitters’ proposed approach reflects a desire to keep “doing what they are doing” rather than having any sound resource management basis. As noted by the Panel, and the submitters’ own urban design witness, Mr Bird, shopping malls are evolving and changing with time. These issues were highlighted by Mr Bird’s acknowledgement at the hearing that “malls are trending more open”.
6.4 The definition is a live issue and could of course be changed to respond to these types of concerns. In fact a revised definition was proposed in the legal submissions on behalf of the submitters to enable more flexibility for design and evolution. The Council is however opposed to the submitters’ proposed definition because, while it may go some way towards achieving the intended outcome, it could also encompass a significantly broader range of retail activities than intended e.g. a stand-alone or conjoined large format retail provider would come within the ambit of the definition simply through exceeding 5,000 m2 and having a single management entity. Such an activity would then unintentionally be subject to the particular design standards afforded to shopping malls.
6.5 The definition is necessary (because it triggers the specific assessment criteria in I3.8 of the proposed plan provisions) and will be determined as part of Topic 065 Definitions. However the issues above highlight some of the inherent difficulties with encouraging integrated retail developments through the policy framework. In particular the definition is likely to be too broad or the need to define the characteristics of shopping malls with certainty will necessarily “lock in” at least some shopping mall characteristics regardless of how the definition is “tweaked”. If integrated retail developments are encouraged in Policy D3.3.9, these defined characteristics would become part of the policy framework. This appears to be favoured by the submitters because it would provide an “easier” resource consent pathway for the current shopping mall
6.6 In my submission the submitters’ short sighted preference for an easier resource consent pathway is not the most appropriate outcome for the following reasons:
(a) There are no resource management reasons for preferring shopping malls over the other types and configurations of retail which may seek to establish within Metropolitan Centres;
(b) Including a policy preference for integrated retail developments would be likely to constrain other types and configurations of retail which may be equally or more appropriate in the context;
(c) It focusses on providing for a particular type and configuration of retail rather than managing the effects of retail regardless of the type or configuration; and
(d) A policy framework that encourages the defined characteristics could prevent the current “shopping mall” model from evolving and improving over time.
6.7 The Council therefore maintains its position that “integrated retail developments” should not be encouraged in Policy D3.3.9 for the reasons set out above.
The Council’s anti mall stance has been known through the Unitary Plan process just never this strong as in the above closing statements that mentioned them (malls or Integrated Retail Developments).
To me the Council’s stance is in contradiction to what is happening over at Westgate and in the wider context if the extract from a previous post:
New proposed large tower risks debunking proposed provisions of the Unitary Plan Metropolitan Centres already
I was reading the Herald this morning and its top leading story is this:
New super mall: shop till you drop5:00 AM Saturday Sep 5, 2015 – Anne GibsonNorth Shore next in line for super mall as local demand grows despite online buying.
Concept plans have emerged for a mega-mall at Takapuna’s Shore City, topped by 360 apartments in 18-storey and 30-storey glass towers with plants cascading off the sides.
After this week’s news of Auckland’s 2.7ha $160 million NorthWest mall opening in Massey on October 1, prospective plans for the Shore site show 9.6ha of floorspace, equivalent to about 12 rugby fields – although much of that is the apartments.
As well as the North Shore and west Auckland developments, Tiffany and Chanel are coming to Britomart in central Auckland and Precinct Properties will soon knock down and upsize the CBD’s Downtown mall.
Across the city, retail centres are being bought, sold, built and expanded in a surge of deals worth $1 billion-plus.
Experts say local malls are expanding on the back of growing demand for shopping, despite global fears that the rise of online retailing would kill them off.In Britain one in five shops is predicted to close and one US shopping centre owner predicted traditional malls would soon be extinct – but the opposite seems to be occurring here.
“People want to go and participate in society,” said Campbell Barbour, chairman of the Council of Shopping Centres and general manager of retail developer NZ Retail Property Group, which owns the land where NorthWest is rising.
“Retail has gone way beyond just wanting to buy, but it’s also to do with food, hospitality and entertainment,” he said.
“People like people and while I find the internet is an excellent place to become informed, aware and be product-aware, the joy of purchasing and being assisted personally is worthwhile and people enjoy it. People go to shopping centres to recreate, to people-watch, mix and mingle.”
University of Auckland Associate Professor in clinical psychology Ian Lambie said malls were appealing to people who led busy lives because they were easy and accessible.
“It’s a very easy and convenient way of shopping and people like things to be easy and accessible,” he said.
I have noted before in June that the mall seems to be going through a rebirth: Rebirth of the American Mall, And Auckland
Again the debate I also wrote comes back to mind:
Main point of contention between big submitters and Council
You might remember when I said earlier this year that how we got bogged down for a number of hours at Unitary Plan Business Zones over Integrated Retail Developments or in lay terms the humble shopping mall.
Well the issue has flared back up AGAIN in the current Hearings (Business and Centres Zones) at the Unitary Plan between Auckland Council and Key Retail Group (representing the big retail submitters) before Judge Kirkpatrick and the Panel.
On Monday the Council via its Legal Submission reiterated its anti mall stance to which Key Retailers Group replied yesterday.
As Key Retail Group picked up (as I did as well):
However in legal submissions,counsel for the Council have said that IRDs (Integrated Retail Developments) “should not necessarily be encouraged in preference to alternative configurations such as a main street“.
I will have both legal submissions embedded through this post
I have previously commented before on malls in Auckland in both my Podcast: Unitary Plan Hearings – Centre and Business Zones and Rebirth of the Mall: Are Council Planners Selling Us Short via the Unitary Plan? #AKLPols.
Given the strong utilisation for most of our malls, the international commentary on malls, and the fact malls are mentioned in my Super Metropolitan Centre zone Objectives and Policies I wrote a memorandum back to the Panel and affected Parties to provide further information given the consequences of the mall debate can have on the Super Metropolitan Centre Zones.
The Memorandum concerning Malls and the Super Metropolitan Centre zone
I will leave it there on the apparent contradiction in Council policy and what Council and the wider commercial environment is actually doing.