The future of heritage buildings in Wynyard Quarter has recently come before the Environment Court in Art Deco Society (Auckland) Inc v Viaduct Harbour Holdings [2012] NZEnvC 125.

The issue in this case was whether five existing buildings within Wynyard Quarter should be identified as character buildings in the Isthmus Plan. The key consequence of this scheduling would be that any proposal to alter, add to, demolish or remove a building would require a resource consent.

The Court found that two of the buildings (the Gloss Boats Building (also known as the former Baileys Shipyard and Devonport Ferry Company and as the Seagars Building) and the HQ Building (also known as the former Chas Bailey Shipyard)) "failed to make the cut" for being identified as character buildings. This was due to their specific building characteristics, such as the presence of a modern street facade, and the fact that both buildings had been significantly altered.

In relation to the other three buildings (the Southern Spars Building, the North Sails Building, and the Smart Marine Building), the Court concluded that there was "insufficient encouragement" to identify these as character buildings. In reaching this decision the Court considered the buildings in the context of the overall development, stating that "to list the buildings would be to significantly affect the implementation of the Wynyard Quarter Vision". Therefore, although these three buildings were found to meet the standards for consideration as character buildings, it appears the Court chose not to include them in the schedule in light of the competing development interests.

Further information about the development projects that are proposed within the Wynyard Quarter and other Waterfront initiatives are available in the Waterfront Plan.