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Major new inner-city build planned for Hamilton

A plan to turn a makeshift inner-city car park into a striking business precinct is being heralded as further evidence of Hamilton’s transformation into an attractive, modern city.

Stark Property has released the first concept images of Tūāpapa – a major three-staged development planned for the corner of Ward and Tristram streets.

Work on the complex’s first stage – a six-storey office building named Mahi – is due to start later this year. A garden terrace will be used to link the office tower to the complex’s second and third buildings.

Tūāpapa takes its name from the Māori word for foundation or terrace, and will sit opposite another Stark Property development, the nearly-complete Tristram Precinct.

Stark Property's new inner-city precinct will be built in three stages. The complex’s final stage, far left, will be a multi-storey accommodation building featuring a rooftop garden.

Developer Matt Stark​ said the name Tūāpapa is inspired by the site’s location at the base of a once-fertile hill, and also the build’s aspiration to enrich the life of the city.

The complex’s second building will include office space and retail and hospitality offerings. A third building will feature public spaces and hospitality on the ground floor and six floors of accommodation above.

“We’re really looking forward to starting Tūāpapa. There’s just a heck of a lot of great stuff that’s happening in Hamilton at the moment,” Stark said.

An artist's impression of Stark Property's planned development Tuapapa on the corner of Ward Street and Tristram Street. Work on the six-storey office building named Mahi, right, will start in 2022.

Earlier this month, Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) and Kiwi Property revealed plans for a massive new retail and office complex on the corner of Ward and Victoria streets. That development will include an investigation into revamping the city’s underground railway station.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate​ said Tūāpapa is a reflection of Hamilton’s “coming of age”.

“Hamilton is modernising, and we’re attracting people into the city who want to work here and live here, and that’s got to be good,” Southgate said.

The Tristram Precinct is nearing completion with Waikato Regional Council staff due to move into the building in May.  Image: KELLY HODEL/STUFF

“The intersection of Ward and Tristram streets is a high-profile corner, and it’s one of a number of major intersections in Hamilton that are starting to look fantastic. At times, people have described Hamilton as a bit tired. Well, I don’t think that’s going to be the impression they get very soon.”

TGH has already started work on a three-pavillion office complex on the corner of Collingwood and Tristram streets, while the first building at Union Square, on the corner of Anglesea and Hood streets, is already taking shape. Union Square is a joint venture between Foster Develop, Ebbett Group and Imola Ltd and, once complete, will feature five inner-city buildings.

Waikato Chamber of Commerce chief executive Don Good​ said developments such as Tūāpapa speak to a “very positive vibe” in the city and the ongoing revitalisation of the CBD.

“There’s a natural cycle of decay then revitalisation that you see in major cities around the world. Look at Docklands in London or Ponsonby in Auckland. Here in Hamilton you have people like Matt [Stark] doing an oustanding job at revitalising the centre of town,” Good said.

The site of Stark Property's new development on the corner of Ward and Tristram streets is currently used as a car park. Across the road is the Tristram Precinct.  Image: KELLY HODEL/STUFF

“A lot of Matt’s builds are also refurbishments where he identifies a building that has good bones. He’s able to take a building and make it look very modern without losing its elegance.”

Hamilton Deputy Mayor Geoff Taylor,​ who chairs the council’s CBD and river plan advisory group, said a focus of the council has been making the central city a desirable place to work and live.

Investments have been proposed to open up the central city to the Waikato River and revamp public places.

“The two go hand in hand, making the CBD a great place to invest and build and work, but also making it a great place to live,” Taylor said.

“We’ve sort of tied those things together quite well ... that’s the secret, and now we’re reaping the benefits.”

Property developer Matt Stark has purchased the Waikato Regional Council's 401 Grey Street headquarters in Hamilton East and will turn it into a marketplace called "Made" Image: STUFF

Stark said the Covid-19 lockdown had delayed the completion of the Tristram Precinct, but its first tenants, WSP, are due to move in late April. They will be joined by the Waikato Regional Council in May.

Waikato Regional Council chairman Russ Rimmington​ said having the council’s 500-plus staff based under one roof will create significant efficiency gains for the organisation.

“Having that number of staff leave Hamilton East will have an impact on the eateries and takeaways there but that area will rejuvenate,” Rimmington said.

Stark has purchased the regional council’s current Grey Street headquarters and plans to turn the site into a marketplace called “Made”. The venue will showcase local food producers, creators and makers.

Story by Aaron Leaman - Stuff

Republished with permission.

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