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Popular Hamilton car park could make way for riverside apartments – Stuff | Casual Expat

A prime riverside lot that will house 300 parking spaces for city workers is on the developer’s radar.

While Hamilton City Council, which owns the land, has ruled out the idea of ​​converting Sonning Car Park to council housing, it will most likely be converted to flats.

The city needs more rents and more opportunities for people to climb the housing ladder, says Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate.

But a former deputy mayor is planning a public gathering for Claudelands residents and says the suburb’s historic character must be respected.

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The River Road car park at Claudelands Bridge has been openly considered for development for years, but Southgate says there is still plenty of water to flow under the bridge before plans for the site are finalized.

“We had a number of ideas, be it a combination of housing, hotel and at one point people even suggested a high-rise parking garage.

“But more recently council discussions have shifted to housing, offering opportunities for a diverse range of housing.”

The council had not made a decision nor signed any agreements at the time, but local and international developers were working to figure out the car park’s future.

Southgate urged Hamiltonians not to worry as it “won’t be converted to public housing overnight”.

The car park

Christel Yardley/Stuff

The car park “won’t be turned into council housing overnight,” says Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate.

However, former Hamilton Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman said he had various concerns and was inviting the mayor and residents of Claudelands to a community meeting on October 2.

“I don’t think this is an appropriate development for this area,” he said. “We have to respect the heritage character of Claudelands.”

Chesterman, who led the drafting of the council’s heritage strategy, said he had confidential development information he wanted to confirm, but his concerns included a lack of appropriate infrastructure in the area, its location next to a heritage zone over an ancient Pā site, the Kāinga Ora could partially fund the project because it is located next to a sheer cliff above a river and no public consultation would be required.

The public meeting will be held at Link House on Te Aroha St.

Former Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman, pictured in 2016, plans a public meeting over concerns about Claudelands' development (file photo).

Christel Yardley/Stuff

Former Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman, pictured in 2016, plans a public meeting over concerns about Claudelands’ development (file photo).

Mayor Southgate said people are “understandably concerned about what the new look of their city will be” and that the fill-up is underway.

“We are working on our review of the district plan to try and make the best of the situation that the government has enacted into law.”

Southgate wasn’t impressed by the fact that “there is no need for parking spaces or garages” as the government’s urban densification plan comes in.

“A forward-thinking developer will be smart about how to do the best possible development and be sympathetic to the environment, and that includes consideration for parking.

“We need housing, but we need the right type of housing in the right place, and we need it to be sympathetic to the surrounding community. It shouldn’t have any negative consequences for the surrounding community, it’s all about a game of balance.”

Plans for the site are ongoing, but Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said discussions in the council had turned to housing.

Tom Lee/Stuff

Plans for the site are ongoing, but Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said discussions in the council had turned to housing.

One of those nearby residents is David McGregor. He lives across from the parking lot and says the site is “almost always full.”

“By the standard, it’s a very cheap parking lot. People park here and get to work very easily.

“I understand how tight housing is at the moment, but there is also a critical lack of parking.”

McGregor worried that the distance might encourage people to park in the narrow streets.

“I’m a cleaner and I use my van to get the job done. It becomes difficult for me to come and go easily when there are two lanes and cars parked on both sides of my street.”

The New Zealand Archaeological Association has registered Sonning Car Park as an archaeological site with 310 parking spaces.

Tom Lee/Stuff

The New Zealand Archaeological Association has registered Sonning Car Park as an archaeological site with 310 parking spaces.

Light Corpuz parks their car on the premises every day and said it would be a shame if it was gone.

“It’s so close to my work, comparatively cheap compared to other car parks, and the street parking is always full.”

The New Zealand Archaeological Association has registered Sonning Car Park as a 310 car park archaeological site, but that does not prevent it from being sold or developed.

Hamilton City Council strategic property manager Nicolas Wells said a developer would need to look at Mana Whenua and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

Public consultation isn’t required, but any developer who needs a resource commitment “must consider the impact on the area.”

Sonning Car Park is one of four key development sites owned by the city and could play a role in the city’s effort to add 4,000 new homes in the downtown area and the surrounding half-mile walkable area over the next 10 years, Wells said .

“Council has been proactive in seeking a development partner for this site for approximately a decade and has searched the market on more than one occasion seeking expressions of interest and concepts against a constraint.”

Lugtons Real Estate managing director Simon Lugton said a property like Sonning Car Park was “very unique”.

“It’s very hard to put a value on that because some developers look at it and have a completely different idea of ​​the end product than others.”

The only way would be to put it into a structured marketing campaign and see who’s out there, he said.

Updated: September 19, 2022 — 5:38 pm

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