The promenade between the Chaffers Dock complex and Chaffers Marina is finally open, after being closed for construction for a very long time. It's still not possible to walk from the eastern end directly to the Overseas Passenger Terminal, as they're still asphalting that part, but you can now at least walk along the waterfront edge of the buildings then along the eastern side to Waitangi Park.
There are still some of the familiar spherical light/bollard fixtures to be installed along the edge, but it's great to be able to walk along the promenade and get a feel for the new architecture. The "Boatsheds" apartments are full of interesting angles and a great play of light, and while they're still unmistakably modernist, they're certainly not a boring rectilinear lump. It may be that the openness of the waterfront environment compared to a tight city site, combined with the extra design scrutiny that applies to waterfront developments, have allowed and encouraged a slightly more adventurous design. Nevertheless, I wish that more of the recent apartment buildings in the city experimented with such varied forms.
My only real disappointment so far is that, as I mentioned a week ago, the first ground floor tenant to open for business is Subway. I'm not sure that the bloggers' boycott will do their business any harm (now, if certain bloggers boycotted pizza, that could send a few places out of business), and in fact on their first day there seemed to be more people inside than were on all of Waitangi Park's lawn. But it just seems to cheapen the entire building, in a way that wouldn't matter so much in other locations. I don't think it's just snobbery on my part: Subway stores follow such a strict design formula that they were unable to respond to the unique architecture and environment. Other, more local chains (like Wishbone or Mojo, for example) would seem more likely to have come up with a customised interior that wouldn't compromise the elegance of the building.
But the rest is looking good. Fitout of The Port Café seems to be coming along, and the two tenancies on the southern, park-facing side will be Mövenpick and something called "Chaffers Store", which I assume will be some sort of dairy or convenience store (and I'm so glad it's not a StarMart!). All of these seem like highly appropriate ground-floor businesses for a building between a park and the waterfront, and with people already living in the apartments above, this part of the waterfront looks like it's finally becoming a part of the city.