Panuku Development Auckland has just announced plans for the iconic Civic Administration Building in Aotea Square and the surrounding area.

Following on from an international tender process that attracted global interest, developer Love and Co. was selected to restore the Category A heritage building and transform the precinct. Designed by Jasmax, the mixed-use development will be built by Naylor Love Construction and Beca.

The new Civic Quarter will feature residential apartments in the upper floors of the Civic building, with food and beverage facilities at street level. Adjacent and fronting onto Aotea Square will be a new commercial building, featuring a Whare Tapere performance space for cultural activities.

The Quarter will also incorporate a new apartment building on the corner of Mayoral Drive as well as a 100-odd bedroom boutique hotel on Mayoral Drive itself.

The number of apartments within the Civic Administration Building have not yet been decided, but Tawera principal Jack Love says the focus will be on quality owner-occupier apartments.

The Tawera Group proposal was selected with guidance from a panel of urban design experts and heritage advisors. Mana whenua were also part of the selection process, ensuring the Te Aranga Maori Design principles were incorporated.

Shane Cotton, a New Zealand-born international artist, has been engaged to facilitate public art installations that will enrich the strong cultural sense of the Quarter.

“The Civic Quarter will bring new energy and vitality into the south-western part of Aotea Square, which ties in perfectly with the notion of “vertical villages” that we want to encourage in Auckland. This development is about connecting public spaces and giving as much of the ground plane back to public use,” comments Auckland Mayor Len Brown.

James Whetter, principal and head of residential design at Jasmax, comments, “A key part of this brief is to strengthen and reinforce the Aotea Quarter framework, which is all about the arts, and to improve what’s currently performing poorly in the case of urban design around this part of the city.

“Civic Quarter will be a truly mixed-use development, with hotels, residential, commercial and retail, all hung off the idea of a heavily food-based ground plane. At the moment there’s very little on offer in terms of food and beverage in this area,” says Whetter.

Tibor Donner, chief architect of the Auckland City Council from 1946 to 1967, designed the Civic Administration Building in the mid 1950s, with completion in 1966. New Zealand’s first skyscraper, it is an example of modernist architecture, incorporating what were then innovative building techniques.

Building of the Civic Quarter is expected to start in mid-2017 and take three years.