Warehouse district revamp mooted for Dunedin

Revitalising Dunedin's warehouse district and the removal of the one-way system south of Queens Gardens are the major talking points of a proposed development plan for the central city.

A report on the central city from consultant Urbanism Plus will be discussed by the Dunedin City Council's planning and environment committee today.

Last year, the committee approved the start of the new central city plan, with the consultants' report expected to form the basis of the council's long-term plan for revitalising the area.

Major initiatives include: an upgrade of the Octagon, investigating the removal of State Highway 1 from Crawford St, making Cumberland St two-way, and improvements to Queens Gardens and the historic warehouse area.

No cost for the work has been provided, but "a large number of these actions do not require large amounts of capital or operational spending", the report notes.

However, two projects likely to require additional council funding include making Crawford St and Cumberland St two-way, and the Octagon upgrade.

Under the proposal, making Cumberland St two-way south of the Leviathan Hotel would convert the state highway into two lanes in each direction, with Crawford St envisaged as a "calmed" two-way street.

That move would lessen the severance between the Octagon, Queens Gardens and the warehouse district, opening up the latter for a new creative-quarter development.

The report acknowledges many of the city's stock of preserved historic buildings are vacant, underutilised, or threatened by demolition and "for the wellbeing of the centre, these buildings generally deserve revitalisation, supported by public space enhancements".

Due to a move towards inner-city living, the warehouse district would attract residential development with the city's population expected to grow by 10,350 (8%) over the next four decades.

In addition to residential development, the area could serve as a quarter focusing on creative industries.

The plan also proposes "micro" open spaces in George and Princes Sts, improved bus and parking arrangements, small inner city play parks for children, a strategic cycle network, more pedestrian space in the Octagon, and connection between Queens Gardens and the harbour.

The central city plan is expected to guide central city development for the next two decades, and will be consulted as part of the council's long-term plan in March and April.

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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