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The transformation of Tauranga’s city centre is on

Anne Tolley and Puhirake Ihaka
Commission Chair Anne Tolley (left) and Otamataha Trust Chair Puhirake Ihaka turning the 'first sod' at Masonic Park before the upgrade of the area kicks off this week

The transformation of Tauranga’s city centre is underway, and people can expect to see a lot more Tauranga City Council projects kicking off there in the coming months.

Improvements to Elizabeth Street and Tunks Reserve, along with the upgrade of Dive Crescent to provide more than 150 car parks for community use, are just some of Council’s projects already in progress and expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Beginning this month is the upgrade of Masonic Park, the transformation of The Strand Reserve along the waterfront, and the demolition of the Council-owned buildings at 160-176 Devonport Road to make way for more than 100 new car parks.

Meanwhile, the site where the future civic precinct – Te Manawataki o Te Papa - will be developed is being prepared for construction to start early next year, and the development of Council’s future leased office block at 90 Devonport Road continues.

“The transformation of our city centre really is all on,” says General Manager City Development and Partnerships Gareth Wallis.

“For years, people have been telling us they want to see our city centre revitalised, so it once again becomes the thriving, beating heart of our city,” says Gareth.

“With the range of Council projects underway, along with the other significant private and public sector developments in the pipeline, as outlined in the Priority One CBD Blueprint, it’s very exciting to see we’re well on our way to creating a city centre that our community wants and deserves.”

Gareth says the transformation will bring with it “a range of economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits to people living across the city and wider region”.

He does acknowledge however, that in the short-term there will be some disruption to local businesses and the community.

“Council is committed to supporting the city centre during this time of transformation and is implementing a range of initiatives to help with its ongoing growth, development and success.

“Some of these initiatives include short-term parking options, establishing a City Safety and Engagement Advisor, supporting the development of student accommodation, and creating events and activations to encourage people to spend more time in the area.

“We’re also meeting regularly with local business owners to listen and, where we can, implement any ideas that could help to reduce any short-term disruption to their businesses.”

Gareth says everyone in the community can play a part in supporting the city centre during this time.

“We encourage people to keep visiting their favourite spots - whether it’s to shop, dine and attend events - or spend time at the library, customer service centre or pop-up art gallery on Devonport Road.

“It’s also a great chance to see first-hand the exciting progress being made as our city centre is transformed into a place that we can all feel proud of and will benefit from in the future.”

Key Council projects already or soon to be underway in the city centre: 

  • The upgrade of Tunks Reserve and Elizabeth Street, including improved roading, paths, access ways and green spaces, set to be completed by the end of the year.
  • Landscaping of Masonic Park (between Willow Street and The Strand) that will see the creation of better green spaces, shade, shelter, seating and covered walkways. This project begins this week and is expected to be finished by mid-2024.
  • A new reserve and better facilities along the waterfront so more people can enjoy spending time there. This means The Strand car park will close from 30 October, but across the road there are more than 100 carparks available at the newly upgraded Dive Crescent carpark, with another 50 car parks to come by the end of the year.
  • Improvements to Beacon Wharf along Dive Crescent, set to be completed by mid-next year.
  • Construction of a new boardwalk at the southern end of The Strand, starting next month, so in time people can travel along this area through the newly installed rail underpass.
  • More than 100 temporary car parks to be available from early next year on the corner of Devonport Road and First Ave, with demolition of the existing buildings at 160-176 Devonport Road due to start later this month.
  • Preparing the civic precinct site on the corner of Willow, Wharf and Hamilton Streets, ready for construction to begin early next year.
  • Continued construction of the country’s largest mass timber office building and Council’s future leased office block at 90 Devonport Road, with completion earmarked for early 2025.

For the most up to date information about these and other exciting projects happening in the city centre, please head to our website: tauranga.govt.nz/ourfuturecitycentre

Posted: Oct 18, 2023,
Categories: General, City centre,

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