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Auckland Council Taken To Court Over Downtown Car Park Sale

Downtown Car Park. Photo: RNZ

Auckland Council is facing a judicial review in the High Court for its decision to sell the Downtown Car Park building to Precinct Properties.

The legal action has been brought against the council by Save Queen Street Society Incorporated, who are accusing the council of failing to abide by local government legislation.

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Precinct Property has plans to demolish and redevelop the site, which is located adjacent to the city's waterfront.

Initial designs for the 6442sqm site are for a centralised podium sitting beneath two high-rise towers, housing retail and hospitality, as well as new public spaces.

Construction was not expected to begin until 2026 and the site would continue to be used as a car park until then.

An artist's impression of what the site of the Downtown carpark could look like.

An artist's impression of what the site of the Downtown carpark could look like. Photo: Precinct Properties/Eke Panuku

But CBD property owner and secretary of the Save Queen Street Society, Andrew Krukziener, believed the loss of almost 2000 car parks would lead to significant damage to retailers and visitors to the city.

"Businesses will close, buildings will be abandoned, and people will simply go elsewhere where there is convenient parking," Krukziener said.

He accused the council of failing to fulfil its obligation to seek and identify all reasonable options when making a decision to sell council land.

The sale price of $122 million for the car park was too low, Krukziener said, and proposed an alternative design could build high-rises above the existing building, retaining the car parks which he said were "vital" to city visitors.

Krukziener said the recent news around potential overnight parking charges in the CBD had added extra angst for businesses and visitors.

A spokesperson for Eke Panuku said the redevelopment of the car park was an opportunity to revitalise the downtown precinct, and the building itself is earthquake prone.

"While there is no immediate risk to people or property and the car park will remain open, it does present a challenge for council over the longer term, as the required remediation work is likely to be very costly for such a large structure."

There were "excellent" public transport connections near the car park, the spokesperson said, and the redeveloped site would boost congestion-free travel options with walking and cycling connections to other parts of the city.

The spokesperson said the council did not wish to comment further on the matter because it is before the court.

The judicial review is set down for 5 August at the High Court in Auckland.

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