Historic civic tower’s fate still up in the air
Auckland may end up stuck with an asbestos-riddled building and no wriggle room if moves to give it the highest protections are made.
The fate of the Civic Administration Building could be decided by a panel of independent commissioners.
Heritage New Zealand wants the city centre building at 1 Greys Ave to be protected under the Unitary Plan as either category A or B.
If it is marked category A, Auckland Council will not be able to demolish it and could be restricted on what it can do to make the building habitable.
Heritage NZ has outlined its desire for the building to be protected in a submission to the Unitary Plan.
Hearings on the Unitary Plan kicked off this month and are expected to finish in April.
The heritage group Civic Trust Auckland says the Civic Administration Building lines up with the criteria for category A.
Independent experts have also told council the building belongs in category A.
But council’s own heritage unit says it merits a B.
Councillors Chris Darby and John Watson say the building has an architectural significance as the city’s first modernist structure.
it could become a centre for the arts.
Its fate has been under investigation since April.
Three options have been put forward: A $78 million full refurbishment into a modern office, a $60m conversion into a residential building, or demo- lition. The latter option could cost up to $12.5m, Auckland Council says.
A report on the options will come back to councillors in February.
Some councillors moved out of Greys Ave last week and the building is expected to be empty by the end of the month.
The tower was designed in the mid-1950s and built in 1966. It is made up of steel, including floors and structural walls, with an aluminium-framed facade.
It has three basement levels and 18 above-ground levels.
The building is in dire need of major upgrades.
The external facade is failing, needs earthquake strengthening and asbestos removal, to name a few of the issues.
Auckland City Council removed 350 tonnes of asbestos from the building in 1989 but parts of the building could not be reached.
About $50,000 a year is spent keeping an eye on the asbestos. There is a risk the asbestos could move via ventilation and cladding. The options presented to councillors are based on market feedback, sought by commercial property firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). JLL was appointed to the project by Auckland Council Properties Ltd.
Uncertain future: The Civic Administration Building has been plagued by asbestos.