Council HQ may be sold
Auckland’s political leaders are being told to consider selling the city’s multi-million dollar council headquarters and put the money to better use.
Officials asked councillors on Thursday for the go-ahead to investigate putting their downtown Auckland office building and some nearby offices on the market.
If the proposal went ahead the council would then lease the space back.
The newly merged Auckland Council bought the 29-storey tower at 135 Albert St for $104 million in 2012, but it’s since emerged the building needs an estimated $27m in repair work.
Its 2014 capital value was $134m. However, it’s expected the property would be worth much more now, with the council recently receiving an offer of $250m.
Council officials say it may be better to sell 135 Albert St and the building at 35 Graham St, and spend the money on improvements to infrastructure such as stormwater and transport.
Mayor Len Brown is a fan of selling and has commented that 135 Albert St could fetch as much as $300m.
‘‘If it’s a quarter of a billion dollars of funding sitting there and we would receive as good a benefit if not better from just being long-term tenants, then it would usefully be best off our balance sheet,’’ he said last month.
The 2014 capital value of Graham St was $32.5m.
While it is usual for organisations to own specialised properties – such as Auckland Council owns the Town Hall – it is not as common for them to own their corporate offices, an officials’ report to Thursday’s Finance and Performance Committee says.
If the council holds on to the office buildings it will face ongoing maintenance and repair costs, whereas if it sells it could reduce some of its debt, the report says. The granite cladding on the 25-year-old Albert St building now needs replacing. Final figures are not in but early estimates are that the work could cost $27m.
Acting group chief financial officer Kevin Ramsay said the repairs would continue regardless of any potential sale, and a new owner may take the work over.
The building on the corner of Albert and Wellesley Streets which houses the Auckland Council offices is up for sale.