Emergency business hub for Wellington
Plans are afoot for a significant business park in Upper Hutt aimed at providing Wellington businesses with a place to go in case of disaster.
Developer Willis Bond & Co is proposing to build a 50,000 square metre multi-use campus on part of the old AgResearch site at Wallaceville
Director David McGuinness said the aim was not to take away from Wellington’s CBD, but to complement it.
‘‘There’s a lot of Wellington CBD businesses that want to have a Plan B site within the region so if there was an event there is an alternative location they can use.’’
Corporates have been rethinking their views of Upper Hutt since last November’s Kaikoura earthquake, which sent many businesses and government departments scrambling for short-term space while their buildings were repaired.
Willis Bond was talking to various potential tenants, both in the public and private sector, McGuinness said.
The buildings would not lie empty because many big organisations had teams which could operate away from the CBD without problems, he said.
‘‘The intention is for the campus to be complementary to the existing activity in the CBD; enabling businesses to stay rather than leave the region.’’
Other organisations that have a base already in Upper Hutt include Inland Revenue and computer services firm Revera, which built a $40 million data centre at Trentham in 2011.
The proposal is still at the planning stage but Willis Bond hopes to break ground on the site by the end of next year.
It will feature villas built out of timber with open, collaborative work spaces and a strong seismic rating of 130 per cent of New Building Standards.
McGuinness said the old AgResearch site had many attractive features including established park-like surroundings, and its position as one of the safest areas in the region, with a low risk of tsunami, liquefaction, ground shaking and slope failure.
Wallaceville also had good access to public transport and roading links, This would become even more important after the new Haywards interchange, Transmission Gully and the State Highway1 expressway were completed.
McGuinness said the cost of the project was confidential. He confirmed Willis Bond did not own the 11 hectare site, but it had a contract with the owner, who he declined to identify.
With so much space, McGuinness said there was potential for running and cycling loops, cafes, conference centres, fitness studios, and childcare facilities.
An artist’s impression of Willis Bond & Co’s proposed Upper Hutt multi-use campus.