#TransformManukau – The Davies Avenue Axis. Part 9 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series

First stage/project of the Panuku Transform Manukau Project


In the Transform Manukau series I have covered the following up until now:

  1. The case for Transform Manukau and the authorisation by the Auckland Council Auckland Development Committee for Transform Manukau to get the go ahead
  2. The context and history of Manukau City Centre leading up to Transform Manukau
  3. This missing human element (Human Geography) to urban renewal in Auckland but how that is recognised by Panuku and being brought into Transform Manukau


The strength of Manukau already present:

Manukau economic output as of 2015 Source: HLPP - Panuku
Manukau economic output as of 2015
Source: HLPP – Panuku



With Panuku having set eight goals for Transform Manukau and those goals putting Human Geography (the human element) at the forefront the challenge now comes down to the first project.

Goals of Transform Manukau Source: Panuku Development Auckland
Goals of Transform Manukau
Source: Panuku Development Auckland


The first project is the Davies Avenue axis which you can see below:

Davies Avenue potential axis Source: Panuku
Davies Avenue potential axis
Source: Panuku


The above slides speak for themselves in the potential of flipping surface car parks into a amenities of different uses. Delivering the developments that are of high quality and amenity despite being on the short-term opportunity RADAR also present the biggest challenges. Those challenges coming from Auckland Transport which own the car parks and are very well-known not to be community orientated (if the Manukau Interchange saga was anything to go by with AT ignoring 67% of submitters and going for the single use monolith design for the Interchange rather than the integrated mix use submitters were wanting). Auckland Transport need to release the land the car parks sit on over to Panuku before Panuku can start developing the three sites on Davies Avenue.


Once AT have released the land over to Panuku does the real fun begin with opportunities presenting themselves to both Panuku and the community. The opportunity being turning car parks into people friendly residential, commercial service, commercial office and open space developments that lift the quality of life for the people of the South while increasing economic participation in Manukau City Centre (breaking that 9-5 economy by bringing in the Local to Manukau)(see: #TransformManukau – Missing the Human Element. Part 8 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series).


Now I am big fan of mixed use especially with City Centres and Metropolitan Centres. Mixed use developments mitigate against vertical sprawl and the transactional 9-5 economy that can plague Centres by attracting multiple visitor types to the area. Looking at the Davies Avenue slide above I notice harbour views kick in from the 5th storey and above.

Those photos are from Summer 2014 from the top floor (7th) of the AT Ronwood Car Park Building (before the Davies Avenue upgrade in 2014-15) so you can see the views one would be afforded in any high-rise development (above 9 storeys) along Davies Avenue.


M Central mixed use tower Opened in 2015 Retail on the lower floors, apartments on the mid and upper floors
M Central mixed use tower Opened in 2015
Retail on the lower floors, apartments on the mid and upper floors


Back to mixed used as I noted in the previous posts the general make up of a development along Davies Avenue would be:

  • Ground and first floor: retail and hospitality
  • Floors 2-7: Office
  • Floors 8-18 (per the Metropolitan Centre height limits under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan): Apartments ranging from studio to 3 bedrooms

Of course car parking would be under ground and the 14 Davies Avenue would also need Laneways and a public plaza to make sure the site continues to attract people and not become a monolith.


The question though with developing along Davies Avenue is what to do with Hayman Park opposite the sites?


Hayman Park needs some $20m of investment to make it a people friendly large park that is safe to walk through both night and day. As I see it this needs to be done first before any development can occur across the road at 2 and 14 Davies Avenue if we want maximum bang for our buck out of those developments. Remembering the reason for going for the open spaces first is two-fold:

  1. Increase the quality of the area already to existing users
  2. Make the area more attractive to new residents and workers

There is also a third reason being cheaper to lay down first rather than retrofit later on when the developments are completed.

Good open spaces right off the bat before the development for new residents and workers also gives reason for existing users of Manukau to socialise, linger and even purchase more services and goods. This in turn through Economics 101 acts as the catalyst to more wanting to come to the area in both living, shopping, working, and selling those goods and services. But remember the aim is to bring the local (the people) to Manukau.


Source: #TransformManukau – Missing the Human Element. Part 8 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series


Bringing Hayman Park up to standard expected of a large Metropolitan Centre (and also allowing it more capable in holding events often) would certainly go the distance in both increasing the amenity for existing users while making development more attractive and enticing to new residents and workers.


Davis Avenue has the potential to become a people’s main street with high quality mixed developments on one side and a high quality large park for informal recreation on the other. If pulled off right and achieving the goals of ‘improving the quality of life’ and ‘increasing economic participation’ it would encourage (making it easier) for continued redevelopment across other areas of #TransformManukau.


In the next post I go to the south-east and look at the car sewer that is Manukau Station Road. What can be done about it as part of Transform Manukau?


If you have any ideas or thoughts on what could go in for Transform Manukau leave a comment below. They do get picked up on and if good get forwarded to places like Panuku.


Manukau Indicitive staging Source: Panuku Development Auckland
Manukau indicative staging
Source: Panuku Development Auckland