Auckland Council has unveiled an $133 million plan to revamp a large section of the CBD.
The regeneration of midtown - the area surrounding Aotea Square, which takes in the Sky Tower, Town Hall, Civic Theatre and Art Gallery, as well as two universities and two parks - was announced on Tuesday morning.
The project will be carried out across the next five years and coincide with the completion of the City Rail Link's Aotea Station which, when opened, is anticipated to be the busiest station in the country.
In its midtown programme, the council says the area is designed to be a place where "our history, art and culture can be seen and heard and will spill out into public life; where people choose to spend time and socialise; a place that is attractive and feels inclusive and safe."
Among the projects helping to achieve these aims are:
CRL Aotea Station - the design of which won a World Architecture Festival WAFX cultural identity award in 2019
Stage 1 of the Wellesley St bus improvements project (Albert St to Queen St) - an upgraded environment for bus users and pedestrians
Stage 1 of Te Hā Noa - Victoria St Linear Park (Albert St to Kitchener St)
Federal St upgrade, extension of the shared path laneway circuit
Wai Horotiu Queen St Project
Myers Park underpass upgrade
Aotea over station development by MRCB, enabled by Eke Panuku
High St upgrade
Hobson St upgrade (Victoria St to Wellesley St)
Aotea Centre refurbishment
Completion of the Albert St upgrade between Wyndham St and Wellesley St
Aside from Aotea Station itself, the over-station development and Watercare's wastewater upgrade, Auckland Council expects to invest more than $133 million into midtown in the next five years.
"Our focus in recent years has been delivering a magnificent new downtown area and a more vibrant, people-friendly and accessible Karangahape Rd, and the focus is now shifting to midtown," explained Barry Potter, Auckland Council's director of infrastructure and environmental services.
"Midtown is the gateway to two of our universities and to our arts and entertainment quarters. It's also a vibrant commercial and civic precinct.
"With the Aotea Station set to bring significantly greater numbers, travel to the area will be frequent, safe and convenient. We're making sure midtown will be ready."
Federal St, Wellesley St, Victoria St, Queen St, High St, parts of Hobson St and Albert St, and the Mayoral Dr entrance to Myers Park will all be improved in the revamp.
And projects from the Government and private developers are also expected to make a positive difference to the area. This includes the 21-storey Aotea over-station development, Auckland City Mission Homeground, the CAB development, and a Kāinga Ora development on Greys Ave.
"We know private investment follows public investment on this scale in growing, prosperous cities with good transport connectivity and people-prioritised design, and we'll see that in midtown," said Councillor Pippa Coom.
Auckland Council says the changes to midtown are borne from a shift in the way people travel into, out of, and through the city. It expects the area's regeneration to result in growth, productivity, a healthier and more sustainable city centre, and a vibrant arts and cultural heart in Auckland.