Thursday, May 23, 2024

Preferred developer named for new Wellington civic sites

Wellington City Council has selected Precinct Properties as its preferred developer for the Civic Administration Building (CAB) and Municipal Office Building (MOB) sites in Te Ngākau Civic Square.

This decision gives effect to the Council’s longstanding intention to redevelop these sites in partnership with a private developer, it said in a statement today.

“The selection of Precinct Properties confirms the decision to demolish MOB, as this was the basis of its proposal. Once CAB is demolished by the end of 2024 and MOB by the end of 2025, development of a new building can proceed on the two empty sites,” the Council said.

“The new five-star green building will activate Te Ngākau by enabling a range of around-the-clock activity including retail, hospitality, co-working, and office space, alongside civic and cultural spaces. It will also provide the front-of-house functions for the Town Hall and any national music centre requirements, while adding to the green space in Te Ngākau.”

Mayor, Tory Whanau and elected members were briefed this afternoon on the decision to move forward to negotiation with Precinct Properties.

Mayor Whanau says while the proposed development deal remains subject to extensive negotiations, she is excited about the progress and proposal. 

“Today’s news is a huge step forward in our collective work to restore the civic heart of our city,” she said.

“As Mayor, I am committed to creating a vibrant city centre that serves our wonderfully diverse communities. The more work we do to revamp our currently under-utilised spaces and attract people and businesses back, the safer and more enjoyable it will be to use.”

Precinct is a NZX-listed company that has received acclaim for large-scale projects like Wynyard Quarter and Commercial Bay in Auckland.

In keeping with the Council’s Te Ngākau framework, this project will have a strong sustainability focus and will incorporate Te Ao Māori and the perspectives of the Council’s Tākai Here partners, the Mayor said.

“The decision to select a private developer means the developer funds and undertakes the redevelopment. This means the City Council avoids the cost and risk of redeveloping the site which we know can be challenging from our experiences with the Town Hall, while still ensuring that key requirements for the site are met.”

Te Ngākau Civic Square Precinct building interior indicative concept
Te Ngākau Civic Square Precinct building interior indicative concept.

The Council will now enter a period of commercial negotiation with Precinct that is expected to be completed this year, and the key terms of the development agreement will be presented to elected members once finalised. 

Council Chief Operating Officer, James Roberts described Precinct Properties’ proposal as “exceptional”.

“We were very impressed with how they balanced the vision for a civic and cultural space with the reality of the commercial requirements. Add in their team’s impressive track record, and we are confident this project will be a success,” he said.

Precinct CEO, Scott Pritchard said Precinct had been a committed long-term investor in Wellington having developed, owned and managed commercial property in the city for many years.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Wellington City Council to redevelop the CAB/MOB site, creating a new civic heart and precinct for Wellington. A proposed mixed-use redevelopment on this site aligns with Precinct’s strategy having recently completed Bowen Campus and Willis Lane in Wellington and Commercial Bay in Auckland,” he said.

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