Thursday, July 18, 2024

Work to start on Oriental Bay rotunda

Preliminary works for the renovation of the Band Rotunda building in Oriental Bay will begin this week.

The Band Rotunda, a Wellington waterfront landmark since its original construction in 1938, has been closed since 2012 due to its poor condition.

Wellington City Council selected Cheops Holdings as the preferred developer of the building in 2019, however work on the development has been slower than expected due to the impacts of COVID-19.

As a listed heritage building, the renovations will require resource consent to be granted by Council, with the building’s heritage features to be an important part of the final design.

“For so many years it has been a place where families and friends have recorded their place in history, so I am delighted to have construction underway,” said Wellington Mayor Andy Foster.

“It is obviously a complex project with its feet literally in the sea, but in Maurice Clark and his companies we have a partner with an outstanding track record in strengthening and restoring challenging and significant heritage icons.  

“I am sure all Wellingtonians will look forward to seeing the Rotunda reopen as a sought-after hospitality destination.”

Mayor Foster said terms and conditions of the redevelopment had now been agreed.

The building will undergo extensive seismic strengthening and a new fit-out for a hospitality operator, with the project is expected to be complete late 2021.

Cheops Holdings Managing Director, Maurice Clark hopes to attract a premier hospitality operator to the iconic site, saying: “we will be approaching the international and local hospitality market in the coming months to find a long-term tenant for this special Wellington landmark.”

Mr Clark, who was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to heritage preservation and the construction industry, specialises in restoring and rejuvenating historic, underutilised buildings across Wellington for commercial, residential and hospitality uses.

His company has an impressive award-winning redevelopment portfolio, which includes the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s head office at Stout Street, the Public Trust Building, and Press Hall precinct. 

Council Heritage and Buildings Resilience Portfolio Lead Councillor, Iona Pannett says the partnership with Cheops Holdings is a continuation of the Council’s work to ensure that the city is ready for earthquakes. 

“The deal means the Council is able to keep the Band Rotunda without the huge cost of upgrading it,” said Cr Pannett.

“The Council’s heritage team has worked with Cheops on a design that retains the building’s heritage significance and an important sea wall yet will deliver a superb, revitalised waterfront venue.”

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