A Little City Centre That Could. Is #ourmanukau the next Parramatta?

The drive towards a 24/7 Economy

Earlier in the week I was reading articles on how Parramatta was proceeding full speed in becoming Sydney’s second City Centre with a $A5.5 BILLION construction pipeline set to change Parrmatta and Sydney’s skylines and Urban Geography forever.

For more see: Parramatta high-rise towers to make Sydney Australia’s first two-CBD city

Closer to home and we have Auckland’s own second City Centre – Manukau City Centre continuing its urban renewal program with a $500m construction pipeline underway with even more projects including Airport to Botany Rapid Transit, and the Manukau Mall expansion entering the pipeline.

But it was what goes on behind the scenes that will often bring excitement and it seems Panuku have been following a recommendation I gave them earlier in the year – engaging in STORY TELLING!

This came in Stuff yesterday:

‘More intense’ development needed in Manukau to fulfill vision of ’24/7 town centre’

Nick Truebridge, Local Democracy – 11:53, Nov 21 2019

Transform Manukau project development director Clive Fuhr suggested housing developments could line the periphery of central Manukau green spaces like Hayman Park, pictured.
PANUKU/SUPPLIEDTransform Manukau project development director Clive Fuhr suggested housing developments could line the periphery of central Manukau green spaces like Hayman Park, pictured.

Panuku says another 1000 residents are needed in Manukau central to meet the council development arm’s goal of creating a “24/7 town centre” in Auckland’s south.

Meanwhile, Transform Manukau project development director Clive Fuhr has confirmed Panuku is in discussions with the Crown to develop council-owned land in the urban centre, much of which is currently occupied by car parks.

The council’s development arm is plugging away at plans for “more intense” development in Manukau central, which Fuhr says would make it “feel more like a 24/7 town centre”.

“Ideally, you need another 1000 people living in a centre,” he said.

“You get a couple of thousand people living there [and] you get some sense of a community.”

Fuhr indicated Panuku saw the edges of council-owned green spaces in Manukau central as potential development sites.

“We think the land we’ve got along Hayman Park … is the most attractive location to be adjacent to if you’re going to live there,” he said.

Fuhr says another 1000 residents are needed in Manukau central before it becomes a "24/7 town centre".
PANUKU/SUPPLIED. Fuhr says another 1000 residents are needed in Manukau central before it becomes a “24/7 town centre”.


Panuku was also in talks with the Crown, through Kāinga Ora, the new agency charged with leading small and large-scale urban development projects, about other potential housing developments on council land in Manukau central, Fuhr revealed.

The Government was also making moves to introduce more office space to Manukau central, Fuhr understood.

“And I think there’s some very interesting things in the pipeline with the Government looking to consolidate more offices in central Manukau as well,” he said.

“All these things have got to work through a process, but we’re very comfortable that we’ve got some momentum here now in terms of seeing more development in the town centre.

“Hopefully we can get more people living there and get more sense of activity and evening life.”

Fuhr added Panuku was in the early stages of a development agreement for a new hotel in central Manukau.

The Transform Manukau project was finalised in 2016.

In total, 600 hectares in Manukau Central and Wiri were identified as part of the urban regeneration project.

Source and full article: ‘More intense’ development needed in Manukau to fulfill vision of ’24/7 town centre’

Rather interestingly Panuku mentioning Manukau going to a 24/7 economy is reminiscent of my 2016 post covering the matter: #TransformManukau – Missing the Human Element. Part 8 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series

Any way; as you can see in the story above there are a lot of intricate moving parts with #ourmanukau but most of all the puzzle is coming together. As well as new housing, office space, mall expansions and MIT expanding there are other projects small and large in the mix as well.

These include Airport to Botany Rapid Transit (see: Airport to Botany and Southwest Gateway Submission Guide), a new bus lane over on Wiri Station Road (April next year), and two ideas going through the cauldron including two new pedestrian malls and a roundabout improvement.

A2B Route Source: Auckland Transport

Just one suggestion Panuku: no touching Hayman Park for any urban development, there are plenty of surface car parks you own including one across the road from the Park, my suggestion would be to turn that car park into a series of mid-rise mixed use blocks that include apartments, office and retail. This is especially as the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Manukau Station is with 50 metres of that car park site!

Car park opposite Hayman Park suited to mid rise mixed use developments. Also sits right next to the proposed A2B Manukau Rapid Transit Station. Source: Panuku

It has not escaped my attention either Panuku are story telling #ourmanukau in the 4th Estate (media) rather than the usual 5th Estate channels available (blog, Twitter, etc.) Whatever the reason is the “surprise” as it was is a welcome one.

$5.5b for Parramatta, $500m for Manukau and both having more projects to add to their growing pipeline. Since 2012 I have blogged on both Centres becoming second City Centres to their respective Cities and the advantages it brings as well. Despite constant Institutional resistance against Parramatta and Manukau everything blogged is coming to fruition (albeit with Urban Geography evolution of ideas to reflect the ever changing Urban Geographies of both Auckland and Sydney) and it is only the beginning for both Centres as well.

Patience and perseverance win out and it is certainly great to see both Parramatta and Manukau evolving and coming into their own despite that institutional resistance mentioned earlier.

And what is not to like about Parramatta and Manukau. Both:

  • serve as their respective Cores to their Sub-Regions that are the fastest growing in both Auckland and Sydney
  • Designed to act as relief values to their main City Centre siblings
  • Attracting increased investment particularly in commercial, office and retail as the prices attracted on per metre squared floor space continue to climb (Manukau can attract prices and rents of $700/sqm. The threshold to have residential become viable is $1000/sqm)
  • serve as their Sub Region’s Civic Core with expanding education and civic infrastructure capacites
  • continue to have their catchments recognise them “their” Centre rather than the main City Centre

Manukau and Parramatta: the Little City Centres that Could!

Aerial photo of Manukau centre. Source: Panuku