Auckland councillors have voted 14 to 5 to pursue selling the downtown Queen Elizabeth Square to a property developer.
The sale could take up to nine months to conclude and the proceeds will be used to create at least two new public spaces, probably on the downtown waterfront.
Precinct Properties wants to merge the square into the redevelopment of surrounding buildings.
Mayor Len Brown said today the chance to build larger and better public spaces using private sector money is a great deal.
Council staff and two urban design consultancies have described the space as poor quality, shaded by an adjacent building, and little used.
The sale would depend on price and design approval.
Opponent Mike Lee said the private sector buyer is being favoured over the interests of Aucklanders.
Supporters of the sale say Aucklanders will be better off, with the money used to build larger and better public spaces nearby on the waterfront.