The future of the Viaduct Harbour as a home to America's Cup racing yachts is under threat.
The future of the Viaduct Harbour as a home to America’s Cup racing yachts is under threat. While thousands of fans crowded the harbour to cheer home Louis Vuitton Cup victors Prada tonight, it appears the village will have a very different look even if Team New Zealand retains the cup.
Private company Viaduct Harbour Holdings, which from June will own the Stars and Stripes, America True, Hawaiian and Spanish challenger syndicate bases, is planning to build a 300-unit apartment block on its 1.5ha Halsey St site.
And publicly-owned Infrastructure Auckland, which owns the remaining seven syndicate bases, including Team New Zealand, will decide within two weeks whether it will sell them after the cup. Harbour Holdings chief executive Chris Parkinson said the area it owned was a “very expensive piece of land” and sitting on it until the next cup regatta would not provide it with the best possible return.
Mark Wyborn, a major shareholder who helped form the company, said the question of whether the bases could be used by syndicates again hinged on possible negotiations with cup landlords America’s Cup Village Ltd. “We haven’t been approached by ACVL to extend their arrangement or anything, so we are in limbo. But at the moment we are planning a residential development down there. “We are progressing with it, and have one developer we are talking with. “On the existing land the syndicates can’t [stay], but I understand that the wharf could be extended out a bit. “We will need the land for this development, but we would like to see the America’s Cup happen again too. So we are in a bit of a predicament, we will have to make that call if we are approached by ACVL.”
Infrastructure Auckland chief executive Richard Maher said it was gathering all the information it could on the village and would brief everyone on its plans by mid-February.
Overseas commentators have remarked the harbour has provided the best regatta heart in the history of cup racing, with bars, restaurants, superyachts and racing boats all easily accessible to the public.