Aotea Quarter vision provides platform for CAB development opportunity
Aotea Quarter vision provides platform for CAB development opportunity
19 September 2015
Auckland, 19 September 2015 - Auckland Council’s vision and plan to create an enduring home for the arts, culture, entertainment and civic life at the heart of the City Rail Link network has created a landmark opportunity for the right development partner to redevelop the council’s former home and surrounding Aotea Quarter.
Following Auckland Council’s move to Albert Street in 2014, a two-phase procurement process is underway to find the right organisation to redevelop the Civic Administration Building at 1 Greys Avenue and deliver a new vision for the surrounding central city precinct.
The process is being managed by John Schellekens and John Holmes of CBRE Structured Transactions & Advisory on behalf of Pānuku Development Auckland, Auckland Council’s new urban regeneration CCO, which opened its doors on 1 September.
Expressions of interest are now being sought from leading developers with the capability to redevelop the 22-level building and the balance of the 5,000sqm site. EOI documents have already been released to the market via the GETS procurement platform, and the initial process is due to close at 5pm on 30 September. Pānuku Development Auckland, on behalf of Auckland Council, will consider the sale of the Civic Administration Building and surrounding land to the selected development party on a freehold or long term leasehold basis.
“The Civic Administration Building presents an exceptional renewal and adaptive re-use opportunity, says John Schellekens. “Coupled with significant brownfields development potential on approximately 4,500sqm of surrounding land, it offers the right partner the potential to play a significant role in revitalising and shaping the Aotea Quarter in central Auckland.”
“This Auckland CBD hot spot is set to become the best connected part of the region, with a new rail station, improved bus links and the potential for light rail. The opportunity for the right party is to be part of Auckland's increasingly successful city centre, creating jobs and homes faster than anywhere in country.”
John Holmes adds: “Pānuku Development Auckland is looking for a development partner with the capability, capacity and track record to support and contribute to Auckland Council’s vision for the site and subsequent to the EOI process, may invite shortlisted parties into a Request for Development Proposal (RFDP) process, through which we will seek detailed development proposals from a shortlist of credible partners.”
Since 2005 Auckland Council, through the-then Auckland City Council, has been working with stakeholders through the Aotea Quarter Plan 2007 to enhance the foundations of the Aotea Quarter and its role as the civic, arts and cultural heart of the city centre and region.
Much has been achieved over the past decade with new and enhanced cultural facilities such as the Q Theatre and redeveloped Auckland Art Gallery, plus upgraded spaces in Queen Street, Aotea Square, Lorne Street, Khartoum Place and Bledisloe Lane.
“A consultation document ‘Towards the Aotea Quarter Framework’, which is currently out for public consultation, seeks to update and advance the strategic direction for the area set down in the Aotea Quarter Plan and more recently within the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) 2012.”
Tim Watts, Manager City Centre Design and Delivery at Auckland Council, says the core aim of the framework is to realise a vision for Aotea Quarter through an outcomes-based approach.
“Firstly, the quarter must be an enduring home for the arts, culture, entertainment and civic life, creating a unique destination experience. It must also provide liveable, vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods that engage with and support the core.”
“It must be a public transport node that improves accessibility supports growth and enables high quality development. And it has to contain spaces and buildings that lead and showcase Auckland’s drive for sustainability and celebrate its unique cultural identify through Te Aranga Māori design principles.”
The Framework also responds to the area’s potential as a future growth node associated with ongoing investment by the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology in the area, plus the new Aotea Station on the City Rail Link. The station, programmed to open in 2023, is expected to stimulate an additional 73,000sqm of residential net floor area (1825 additional residents) and 249,000sqm of commercial net floor area (12,450 additional workers) in the quarter.
Schellekens says that the Civic Administration Building holds a significant place in Auckland’s history, having been a seat of local government since 1966.
“Designed by Tibor Donner in 1951 and constructed in 1966 with advice from internationally renowned American seismic engineer John A. Blume, the building was originally intended to form the centrepiece of a wider masterplan for the site,” he says.
Upon completion, the 66 metre high structure was Auckland’s tallest building, one of the first conscious high-rise experiments in the international style undertaken in New Zealand. It led Auckland’s tall building construction and is still a remarkable, lightweight and elegant example of the Modernist era in Auckland.
Holmes adds that today the building offers 8,479sqm of gross floor area, with an average floor plate of 453sqm over its 22 floors, which include 2 basement levels, ground floor, mezzanine, and 1-18 above.
The building exhibits progressive earthquake construction, with no sheer walls and welded floors being the structural element, and innovative steel structural columns. The building’s lightweight, flexible steel frame with bolted moment connectors, rather than the more conventional frame with internal sheer walls with substantial diagonal bracing, also offers greater structural efficiency and improved internal planning according to a report prepared by Salmond Reed Architects.
Clive Fuhr, Project Development Director, Central City at Pānuku Development Auckland, notes that based on a detailed seismic assessment completed in September 2013, it is expected that the majority of the building’s structural elements are capable of achieving over 67% NBS value. This will involve work during the redevelopment process.
The building sits on approximately 500sqm of a larger 5,000sqm site with frontage to Aotea Square, The Aotea Centre, Mayoral Drive and Greys Avenue.
“The site borders Mayoral Drive to the south west, Greys Avenue to the south east and Aotea Centre and Aotea Square to the north. This arts, civic and entertainment quarter known as the Aotea Quarter is located around the mid-town area of Queen Street in Auckland’s CBD. It provides a strong sense of shared community in central Auckland, adds considerably to Auckland and New Zealand’s economy and is a strong element of the City’s identity.”
In July 2015, after resolving to identify a shortlist of development partners to refurbish the Civic Administration Building and redevelop the surrounding area, the Auckland Development Committee from Auckland Council, instructed Pānuku Development Auckland to prepare and issue the EOI based on realising the outcomes and heritage-based vision, according to Schellekens.
“Submitters need to demonstrate proposals that restore the heritage values of the existing building, as far as practicable, and can propose any uses for the building that are compatible and complimentary with the wider objectives of the Aotea Quarter Framework, currently out for public consultation. They are encouraged to submit proposals that intensify the use of the site and create a frontage to Mayoral Drive.”
“In addition, submitters need to recognise the importance of the location and submit proposals of exemplary design quality, responding specifically to Te Aranga Māori design, sustainability and urban design best practice.”
In addition to the obvious potential for office use, the Civic Administration Building and surrounding site also present opportunities for hotel, hospitality (F&B) and residential uses, according to Holmes.
Key opportunities include the double-height space of the ground level and mezzanine, which provides a sense of invitation, and presents attractive opportunities for hotel or civic uses.
“Opportunities also exist to project the building out to the east with good quality food and beverage tenancies in order to better activate the public space. In addition to the spectacular views and natural daylight which present strong residential potential, the rooftop level offers a stunning vantage point and would be perfectly suited to a public bar or restaurant similar to the international rooftop bars of Radio in London, Aer in Mumbai and Hotel de Rome, in Berlin” according to Clive Fuhr.
“The bespoke manufactured aluminium and other curtain wall cladding details should where possible be retained, refurbished, replicated or referenced in a replacement equivalent – as should the basement auditorium’s interior details. Submitters should also consider replacements that recognise the original external mosaic tiling removed in the last 10-20 years from north and south elevations.” adds Fuhr.
Holmes adds: “Pānuku Development Auckland wants a development partner with vision; a party capable of bringing a modern interpretation to the original site master plan, one which will establish a viable new purpose for the Civic Administration Building and leverage the heritage and connectivity value that exists in the surrounding land.”
“The building and precinct are now ready to be re-positioned for the next 50 years.”
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