What comes next for 7 America’s Cup bases? Map shows footprints, questions over land future

The future of the America’s Cup bases hangs in the balance, with discussions going on about whether the next race will be held in this country.

Today, Mayor Phil Goff said Team NZ has to be out of their council-owned base on the waterfront by March next year.

Team New Zealand has officially rejected the Government’s $99 million bid to host the next America’s Cup. The means the next Cup defence is likely to head abroad, despite the $99m cash and support offer tabled by the Government and Auckland Council

The Herald earlier today reported that no final decision had been made about where the next America’s Cup will be held – but it is highly unlikely it will be in New Zealand.

This map was supplied by the owner of land where all seven bases are: Auckland Council’s Eke Panuku.

Those seven racing syndicate bases are on the highly valuable Auckland Council-owned land at the foot of downtown Auckland.

Panuku stressed no decisions had yet to be made on where the 37th America’s Cup would be raced so it was unlikely to be able to speak about the future of any of those bases.

“Under the provisions of the host venue agreement, hosts have a three-month exclusive negotiating period to determine whether Auckland will host the 37th America’s Cup.Given the commitment to negotiate in good faith and the commercial-in-confidence nature of the negotiations during this period, there is no comment to be made regarding this,” Panuku said today.

Emirates Team New Zealand is headquartered in the Viaduct Events Centre opposite ASB North Wharf and beside the new $300m Park Hyatt. ETNZ has been reported by other media as paying $1/year to rent that huge white conference and events venue.

The consent to operate goes through till 2027. The racing syndicate first established its base at the Viaduct Events Centre in 2018.

Panuku’s map showed Emirates Team NZ at that Viaduct Events Centre, the Italian Luna Rossa base across the water towards the CBD and the Wynyard Wharf as the base forAmerican Magic and the British Ineos bases.

Panuku showed three other bases identified as E, F and G but noted they were not used by challenger teams for the 36th cup. That was an indirect reference to challengers who pulled out before the last America’s Cup.

But Panuku said these bases were used by America’s Cup events over the duration of the events that culminated in Emirates Team New Zealand winning in March.

“Significant investment from Auckland Council and the Crown for AC36 has seen a transformational change in Auckland’s Waterfront since 2017,” Panuku said in response to questions about the future of the land.

Fiona Knox, Panuku’s priority location director for the waterfront, said: “For the Wynyard and Viaduct Precincts, the changes have created new legacy land and water space, notably on Hobson Wharf extension, Halsey Wharf extension and Wynyard Point.The America’s Cup resource consent, granted in 2018, has a duration of 10 years and allows for public access, marine-related activity, and events.”

The entity was working on behalf of Auckland Council to fulfil a vision of a waterfront that is more publicly accessible and welcoming, while also working within the constraints of the resource consent for the sites, she said.

Other Panuku-owned land is being leased on terms of more than a century and developed by Willis Bond, which has built a number of apartment blocks in the area.

Willis Bond has developed apartments in the area but Panuku says it doesn’t have the exclusive rights to do that. Other developers can and have also built there.

Whether the land for all the bases could be leased out long-term for any future development is unlikely in the near term because the consent period for the seven bases doesn’t expire till 2027. Marine activity and events is the sole focus for the seven bases up until that time.

Neighbouring land has been developed into apartments, hotels offices, retail or a mixture of uses including public-focused spaces like the ASB Waterfront Theatre.

That gives an indication of how six of the seven bases could be used if Panuku decided development was the best option.

Existing development is certainly a key to indicating how the land could be used for high-value outcomes.

Panuku referred to the wider area and its programme of works.

One of its first priorities in the area had been to make it safe: “Eke Panuku first needs to return Wynyard Quarter and the Viaduct to its new business as usual, and first and foremost ensure that the industrial infrastructure is replaced and the place is safe for public access. This work will begin shortly and continue until August this year,” it said.

The entity was is also delivering stage two of the Silo Park extension.

“Stage one was delivered by the Wynyard Edge Alliance in conjunction with Eke Panuku.The remaining works will complete the open space connection in the eastern corner between Silo Park, North Wharf and Wynyard Wharf providing a total of 2700sq m of new open space on Wynyard Point,” it said.

Eke Panuku was planning through a transitional use strategy, for a variety of activities including sports, events, workshops, as well as rest and relaxation spaces in the area.

Knox said that strategy had “brought to life well-loved spaces like Silo Park by featuring temporary infrastructure in the form of basketball courts, playgrounds, a container library, modular ‘kit of parts’ furniture and pop-up events such as silo outdoor cinema and night markets.”

Six of the seven bases don’t have permanent buildings on them so the land can be adapted for other uses.

Knox said that means some of the seven bases could be put to temporary use as basketballs courts, perhaps boat shows, markets or container libraries.

Public use is the focus for six of the seven bases – only the Viaduct Events Centre stays as it is and falls under Auckland Unlimited, so will stay with its current uses and leased to ETNZ.

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