Sky Garden tower proposal would soar above Hamilton’s CBD offering views up and down the Waikato River

Move over Auckland, Hamilton could be moving in on the tower-in-the-CBD market.

That’s the lofty goal developer John Heskett is reaching for in his third attempt to build a major tourism project in Waikato.

It’d be based around a 100-metre-high timber tower, the highest building in the heart of Hamilton’s CBD, next to the Waikato Museum on Victoria St.

Developer John Heskett is in the concept phase of a plan to bring the Sky Garden tourism project to Hamilton.

Dominico Zapata/Stuff

Developer John Heskett is in the concept phase of a plan to bring the Sky Garden tourism project to Hamilton.

It would feature a bungy and slide off the tower with a swing over the neighbouring Waikato River.

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Concept drawing of the Sky Garden tourism tower when it was proposed for Hangatiki, Waitomo. The project will be redesigned to fit into Hamilton’s CBD.

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Concept drawing of the Sky Garden tourism tower when it was proposed for Hangatiki, Waitomo. The project will be redesigned to fit into Hamilton’s CBD.

At the top there would be a viewing platform, restaurants, cafes and a cocktail bar. The roof would be used as a green space with a garden, lawn and mini golf course for families.

The project is still in the concept phase and would need further feedback from the Hamilton City Council, community and iwi.

It would not be a carbon copy of the $20 million Sky Garden plan for Hangatiki, near Waitomo Village, which was declined in July. Nor would it look like the first version promoted closer to Te Kūiti.

The Waitomo version was 70m high.

“We need to redesign it for Hamilton, to make it taller, but it will still be built out of timber and have the tower as its centre piece,” Heskett said.

John Heskett said the revised Sky Garden project for Hamilton is in its early stages of planning but could cost between $20m-$30m.

Dominico Zapata/Stuff

John Heskett said the revised Sky Garden project for Hamilton is in its early stages of planning but could cost between $20m-$30m.

He initially looked at a site near Horotiu, north of the city. The council also suggested Victoria St as an option.

“There is the Waikato Regional Theatre being built nearby in the CBD and bringing the Sky Garden into the heart of the city could be a good fit.”

Heskett said he was compelled to continue finding a home for the project after numerous calls of support, after the Waitomo proposal was declined in July.

“I’ve lost count of how many offers of other sites I’ve had, people want to see it become reality.

“Raising capital for this [Hamilton] project has been the easiest of the three, we’ve got $500,000 ready for a new consent.”

The project’s inability to mitigate cultural aspects was the stumbling block at Waitomo.

“So I am meeting with my cultural adviser this week and one of the first conversations will be with iwi, to check that the site is okay to use.

“We want to put a swing over the Waikato River but we know the river is special to iwi, so we need to consult on that concept first.”

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2 alleged ISIS supporters in U.S. accused of plotting attacks on White House, Trump Tower

Two men faces charges in connection with an alleged plot to bomb or shoot at high-profile sites in the U.S., including the White House and Trump Tower in New York City, a federal complaint shows.

Jaylyn Christopher Molina, of Texas, and Kristopher Sean Matthews, of South Carolina, face charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

An email and phone call to Molina’s attorney seeking comment did not receive an immediate response. Court records do not list an attorney for Matthews.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the federal court for the Western District of Texas, Molina and Matthews used an online chat group in 2019 to discuss attacking U.S. targets on behalf of ISIS. The pair also allegedly discussed traveling to Syria to fight with the Islamic State group.

They were allegedly studying how to build car bombs, suicide belts and other explosives and discussed plans for attacks with others on an encrypted messaging application.

Matthews told Molina that they needed four recruits to carry out multisite attacks “that could be Netflix worthy,” the complaint said.

On Saturday, FBI agents arrested Matthews in Cleveland City, Tennessee, and Molina in Gonzales, Texas, a city about 75 miles east of San Antonio, according to special agent Michelle Lee. She declined to comment further on the case.

Nicole Acevedo contributed.

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2 alleged ISIS supporters accused of plot to attack White House, Trump Tower

Two men faces charges in connection with an alleged plot to bomb or shoot at high-profile sites in the U.S., including the White House and Trump Tower in New York City, a federal complaint shows.



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Jaylyn Christopher Molina, of Texas, and Kristopher Sean Matthews, of South Carolina, face charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

An email and phone call to Molina’s attorney seeking comment did not receive an immediate response. Court records do not list an attorney for Matthews.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the federal court for the Western District of Texas, Molina and Matthews used an online chat group in 2019 to discuss attacking U.S. targets on behalf of ISIS. The pair also allegedly discussed traveling to Syria to fight with the Islamic State group.

They were allegedly studying how to build car bombs, suicide belts and other explosives and discussed plans for attacks with others on an encrypted messaging application.

Matthews told Molina that they needed four recruits to carry out multisite attacks “that could be Netflix worthy,” the complaint said.

On Saturday, FBI agents arrested Matthews in Cleveland City, Tennessee, and Molina in Gonzales, Texas, a city about 75 miles east of San Antonio, according to special agent Michelle Lee. She declined to comment further on the case.

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Denver homeowner upset about new cell tower in garden

DENVER (KDVR) — Faster and improved cell service comes with a price. More towers are going up around the Denver metro area, and where they end up can affect homeowners.

Mary Ann Martin tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers a large cell tower is the last thing she wanted to see growing out of her beautiful street-side garden.

“Oh, I’m super angry about it,” she said.

The Problem Solvers contacted the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. They explained that Verizon is attaching cell equipment onto an existing street light.

It was moved to ensure the public’s right-of-way is not blocked.

A city spokesperson says while there isn’t a notification requirement, residents were notified as soon as possible with door notices.

The Problem Solvers contacted Verizon Wireless headquarters as well.

A spokesperson issued a statement saying:

“Verizon’s network provides the broadest coverage, best speeds, and unsurpassed reliability. We consistently invest in our network so that we can offer our customers the quality experience and the reliability they expect and deserve – today and in the future. The (site) is a collocation site that includes the replacement of an existing light-pole with a new light pole/small cell combination pole in the public right-of-way. Verizon has adhered to all applicable requirements, including local permit requirements. In addition, we provided the specific information about this site on Denver’s Small Cell Map to support greater transparency about deployment efforts throughout the city”.

Martin tells FOX31 she understands the process but wanted earlier notice so she could have a voice in where the tower was located. She says she would have requested for the pole to have been placed at the other end of her garden instead.

“I’ve been told it is their right-of-way, they can do whatever they want. If they would have given me a week, I could have sold the house,” she said.

The Problem Solvers asked real estate expert Grant Muller of Spaces Real Estate about how cell towers affect property values.    

“Certain buyers are going to be very concerned about being near high tension power lines, fracking or cellphone towers, other buyers aren’t going to care at all,” he said.

When asked about any positives, Muller points out that homeowners should ask about their rights to certain benefits.

“Sometimes the property owner or the neighborhood gains some revenue from the cellphone tower,” he said.

Martin says heading to court over the tower isn’t an option she’ll take.

“I will live with it,” she said.

Homeowners have rights when a tower is not obstructing the public right-of-way.

For more information on policies, visit the City and County of Denver’s website.

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