The proposed development of Tauranga’s civic precinct – Te Manawataki o Te Papa – is one strand of a much wider strategy to revitalise the city centre.
The strategy is built around planned, complementary developments in eight identified CBD precincts at the northern end of the Te Papa peninsula, all of which are within easy walking distance.
Some of the developments under consideration are Council-led, some are government or education institute-led, while others are private investments or community organisation-led.
The civic and hospitality precinct – the area between Cameron Road and the waterfront, bounded by Harington and Spring Streets – sits at the heart of the overlapping precinct areas.
Immediately to the north is the justice precinct, site of planned court building developments; to the south are the education (University of Waikato and Toi Ohomai) and retail and commercial precincts; to the west is the sports and events (Tauranga and Wharepai Domains) precinct; and to the east is the waterfront/Dive Crescent precinct.
Some aspects of the city centre strategy are still in the early stages of development, but taken as a whole, there is more than enough here to give us confidence that the CBD has an exciting and vibrant future in store.” – Anne Tolley
Further to the north is the cultural and historic precinct (Mission Street and Cliff Road); while further to the south and south-west is the mixed-use precinct where more intensive residential and commercial development is anticipated.
Related strategy elements include a housing intensification area to the south of the CBD; the proposed Memorial Pathway linking Memorial Park to the city centre, the proposed Memorial Park destination park and the Cameron Road multi-modal corridor.
The Civic Precinct area could see the most intensive development in the short-term, both through the masterplan refresh projects currently being consulted upon through Tauranga City Council’s proposed long-term plan amendment, and a number of private developments planned in the immediate area.
Construction of the library and community hub project on the corner of Wharf and Willow Streets is planned to commence later this year and the Commission will be making decisions on the other precinct projects – a museum and exhibition/events space, a Civic Whare (council and community meeting space) and an upgraded waterfront area between Hamilton and Wharf Streets, linking to the civic precinct through Masonic Park – over the next two months.
Significant developments have already been completed in the education precinct, highlighted by the magnificent University of Waikato campus building.
Further educational facilities are likely and additional student accommodation developments are also expected.
The sports and events precinct also has considerable potential and could be the home of a future stadium development now in the early stages of feasibility investigation.
Highlighting development in the retail and commercial precinct is the major Farmers’ retail and residential complex, which is already underpinning a resurgence in this part of the CBD.
Commercial building developments underway or planned on Devonport Road (including the leased Council administration building to be constructed at 90 Devonport Road, starting later this year) will add further impetus to the city centre’s long-awaited recovery.
Some aspects of the city centre strategy are still in the early stages of development, but taken as a whole, there is more than enough here to give us confidence that the CBD has an exciting and vibrant future in store.
I can’t wait to see that future take shape and I look forward to a time when the cultural and commercial heart of our city is once again beating strongly and we have a city centre we can all enjoy and be proud of – a place where people will want to live, work, learn and play.
Related: Important decisions ahead