Council service centre sale backed
The Pukekohe Service Centre on Manukau Rd will be sold as the Auckland Council looks to make better use of office space.
However the council is promising that all services will remain in Franklin.
‘‘Any local board office or customer service centre that could be affected by the sale of any of these buildings will be relocated within the area, in consultation with the relevant local board,’’ Ross Clow, chair of the Finance and Performance committee, said on Tuesday.
Seven council-owned office sites worth $128 million will be sold. The council said they are costing Auckland ratepayers $1 million a month in lost revenue.
Franklin Local Board deputy chair Andy Baker said the decision to sell the Manukau Rd site comes with the support of the board.
‘‘We have never been opposed to the sale, and accept that the costs of retaining and maintaining these types of facilities is a huge burden on rates as it is an operational expense.’’
Baker said the board began the discussion into making better use of the Manukau Rd site in the first term of Auckland Council, when they realised times and needs had changed, and much of the current office space was going to waste.
‘‘Whilst the properties have been cleared for sale, it will still be up to two years before they go on the market.
‘‘In Pukekohe we need to finalise where we will locate the new council service centre and [Local Board] office and then develop that so it is fit for purpose for now, and also futureproofed.’’
Franklin Family Support Services has recently moved into the Manukau Rd site but had been aware of the sale from the beginning, Baker said. He said it will be up to two years before the building is marketed for sale.
He said Auckland Deputy Mayor and Franklin councillor Bill Cashmore pushed for a recommendation that council ‘‘staff work with Local Boards to make sure the strategic value of the properties was maximised and that there were some tangible good community outcomes other than better works spaces for staff and council customers.’’
Cashmore said: ‘‘The redevelopment of the site will need to include substantial park and ride provision and commercial space for community benefit. One such use that is being worked on is AUT and or MIT education presence.
‘‘The local board will be involved in all steps going forward.
‘‘Living in the past is expensive and inefficient,’’ he said.
It is estimated that Aucklandwide 45 per cent of council office space is currently unused, and it would cost a further $117 million to maintain existing sites.
The Pukekohe Service Centre site is valued at $7.2 million.
Auckland Council will sell the Pukekohe Service Centre.