There was a brief article in Saturday's Dominion Post about the conversion of 182 Lambton Quay into a hotel. This will require the addition of eight storeys to the existing nine storey building. The resulting seventeen-storey tower would hardly be out of place on Lambton Quay, but there is something special about this site: it's due west of Midland Park.
The developers wanted to extrude the building straight up, thus maximising the floor area, but the council told them that it would cause too much extra shading onto the park. After quite a bit of behind-the-scenes wrangling, the modified design now steps back in a series of terraces, resulting in what's described as only minimal extra shading, and none during the peak noon-2pm period. From what I could see of the design, it also looked a lot more visually interesting than a straight tower.
The developers sounded very grumpy that it took so long to get consent, and were quoted as saying that they shouldn't have to worry about shading the park. I'm all in favour of more density, but Midland Park is something special, and it's good public spaces like that that help make Wellington and attractive place for visitors in the first place. As it stands, it seems like the process has worked well: the developer still gets to build a hotel, but the building ends up looking better and impact on the public realm is minimised. We usually only hear about the consents process when it goes wrong, but from what I've seen, this appears to be one of the cases when a compromise will provide better results for everyone.