Auck­land icon gets new life

Central Leader - - MILESTONES - JOHN AN­THONY

An iconic Auck­land Coun­cil tower in the heart of the city is get­ting a ma­jor up­grade and a new owner after sit­ting moth­balled for two years.

The 18 storey Civic Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing in Aotea Square, on the cor­ner of Greys Av­enue and May­oral Dr will un­dergo re­de­vel­op­ment to form a com­mer­cial, re­tail, child­care, hos­pi­tal­ity and ac­com­mo­da­tion hub, in­clud­ing a ho­tel with about 100 rooms.

The pri­vate de­vel­op­ment, dubbed Civic Quar­ter, will be­gin around this time next year and will be com­pleted by the end of 2020. Ratepay­ers will not foot the bill, ex­pected to be be­tween $200 mil­lion and $300m.

The build­ing, de­signed in the mid-1950s and built in 1966, was in need of ma­jor up­grades in­clud­ing restor­ing the ex­ter­nal fa­cade, earth­quake strength­en­ing, as­bestos re­moval and re­build­ing of in­fra­struc­ture such as air con­di­tion­ing and elec­tri­cal sys­tems.

It has not been used since coun­cil staff were moved out in 2014.

A 2014 coun­cil re­port pre­sented three op­tions for the fu­ture of the build­ing: re­fur­bish­ment into a mod­ern of­fice, con­ver­sion into a res­i­den­tial build­ing or de­mo­li­tion.

The city’s ur­ban de­vel­op­ment agency, Panuku De­vel­op­ment Auck­land, has se­lected Taw­era Group to re­store the build­ing after an in­ter­na­tional ten­der process.

Taw­era Group would buy the build­ing and sur­round­ing land off the coun­cil. The sale price has not been fi­nalised.

Prin­ci­pal John Love said the num­ber of apart­ments had not been de­cided but about 10 per cent would be af­ford­able homes un­der $650,000.

The tower had a floor area of 12,000 square me­tres and the en­tire de­vel­op­ment was about 45,000sqm, he said.

The com­pany spe­cialises in retro-fit­ting build­ings, with projects in­clud­ing Here­ford Res­i­dences, Hopetoun Res­i­dences, St James Apart­ments and 132 Vin­cent St apart­ments.

‘‘We do spe­cialise in tak­ing old build­ings that are no longer fit for the orig­i­nal pur­pose and rein­vig­o­rat­ing and rein­vent­ing them,’’ Love said.

Mayor Len Brown said it would be good for the coun­cil to get the build­ing off its hands.

‘‘It was go­ing to be a great big noose around our neck,’’ Brown said.

‘‘The de­vel­oper are tak­ing on the risk.’’

The Auck­land City Coun­cil Civic Ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing on Greys Av­enue has not been used since 2014.

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