Private developers are being invited to partner with Hamilton City Council to further open the central city to the Waikato River.
Today Council issued a formal Expression of Interest document, seeking partners from the private sector to help further develop the city’s booming Victoria on the River precinct.
Council already owns five buildings in the precinct, running from 242-266 Victoria Street. The buildings, purchased in 2018, cover a combined area of more than 2,000 square metres including a right of way over the Victoria on the River reserve. All buildings are currently leased.
Today Council invited developers to comment on a broad development concept for the area formally approved by Council in August 2021. The concept would see a multi-storey mixed-use development on the site, including underground parking, ground and first floor retail, hospitality and commercial space. Residential apartments would be built on upper floors, part of the Council’s drive to encourage inner city living.
Mayor Paula Southgate says today’s step would help realise one of Hamilton’s five, long-term priorities developed in consultation with the wider community.
“We have been very clear that we want to develop a central city where people love to be. It’s a priority for Hamilton people and it’s a priority for us,” she said.
“Connecting our central city much more closely to our stunning Waikato River is a huge part of that and this piece of work is a significant step towards a complete rejuvenation of the city’s riverside. The Victoria on the River precinct is already a beautiful, well-used space and there is huge potential to turn this location into something amazing that few cities can offer,” she said.
“I’m genuinely excited about this because, alongside the development community we can develop something really, really special for Hamilton.”
Deputy Mayor Geoff Taylor, who chairs the Central City Advisory Group, said today’s step continued Council’s ongoing emphasis towards creation of a Central riverside precinct flowing from the proposed Aranui Sports Hub at Ferrybank, a pedestrian/cycle bridge near the museum, the new commercial jetty and Waikato Regional Theatre.
“I’m so excited to see this extension of Victoria on the River under way,” he said.“When we walk along Victoria Street in years to come we’re going to see a city that absolutely celebrates the river, a city that’s vibrant and exciting. I’m very, very happy to see this progressing. It will be transformational for Hamilton.”
While Council was looking to deliver a modern precinct, Southgate said history won’t be lost. The Victoria Building and Former Guthrie Bowron Building, both heritage buildings, will both be preserved and enhanced as part of the development.
While city users are expected to gain most from the project, all Hamiltonians will benefit. Financial profits from the sale of the land will be ploughed back into the city through the recently reinvigorated Municipal Endowment Fund.
The Fund, which helps finance further city initiatives in the city, is under the direction of Council’s Economic Development Committee. A quarterly report on the Fund’s financial performance will be presented on November 23.
Council anticipates the Expressions of Interest phase will close in April 2022. A preferred partner will be put forward to Council for approval before detailed design work can begin.