Emer­gency busi­ness hub for Welling­ton

The Hutt News - - WHAT’S ON - CATHER­INE HAR­RIS

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.

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