It’s a project that’s been in development for over five years now but in less than two weeks, stage one of Wynyard Quarter, known as the Tank Farm and dubbed Auckland waterfront’s “cultural and social heart”, is set to open to the public.
Stage one of the development came in at a cost of $120 million, so what can you expect to see for that kind of money? Among the completed projects within stage one of the 36-hectare site are the Gordon Moller-designed (of Sky Tower fame) Viaduct Events Centre, a new pedestrian bridge linking the eastern side of Viaduct Harbour (Wynyard Crossing), nine new restaurants and bars at North Wharf, a revitalised tree-lined Jellicoe Street (now more a boulevard than street) and Silo Park, a new inner city park with westward views of Westhaven Marina and the Auckland Harbour. Silo Park also features the old 35m Golden Bay cement silo as a nod to the area’s industrial heritage.
Chief executive John Dalzell of Waterfront Auckland, the council controlled organisation responsible for the delivery of the works, says the project is the result of a series of major construction projects and he’s pleased with what has been achieved.
“It is a pleasure and a delight to be able to reunite the city with some of this prime waterfront land in the form of new public spaces, hospitality businesses and a show stopping new exhibition centre.”
The opening will also celebrate the return of a transport mode last seen on Auckland's street in 1956—trams. Tram tracks have been installed on Jellicoe, Halsey, Gaunt and Daldy streets. Two trams will operate on the 15-minute circuit, a W2 Class Tram and an X-1 Class Tram.
Restored at the Bendigo Tramway Museum in Victoria, both trams have been painted in the original 1950s Auckland tramway base colour.
Weighing in at 17 tonnes, the W2 tram can seat 52 people, requiring both a driver and conductor. It's smaller nine tonne X-1 counterpart seats 32 and only needs a driver.
The completed stage one of Wynyard Quarter will be officially opened on August 6 with Prime Minister John Key and Auckland Mayor Len Brown among the dignitaries in attendance.
As one of the largest waterfront urban renewal developments ever undertaken in New Zealand, over the next 20-25 years around 29 hectares of Auckland’s waterfront within Wynyard Quarter will be transformed in stages into a harbourside community with parks and plazas, apartments, shops and offices alongside the traditional marine and fishing industries.