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NZ's Biggest Office Tower Opened

3 November 2000

New Zealand’s Biggest Office Tower Opened

A major Auckland landmark, at 174 metres the tallest office building in New Zealand and one of the most prestigious in the Southern Hemisphere, has been officially opened by the Mayor of Auckland, Christine Fletcher, on 1 November 2000.

The asymmetrical Royal & SunAlliance Centre, owned and developed by Kiwi Development Trust, is the biggest office building construction project ever undertaken in New Zealand. It was built on unique “from the inside out” principles, is 80% leased, and has a lobby like a five star hotel, including major New Zealand artworks and a top quality café and separate espresso bar. It is also the first major office tower to be built in New Zealand since the ANZ tower in the 1980s in Auckland.

Owner Kiwi Development Trust is a property developer listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

The mighty 40 storey, $200 million office tower is clad in pewter coloured aluminium and glass. Its tower is crowned with an architectural feature halo which is dramatically lit at night. The building is in the heart of Auckland’s CBD, between Fort and Shortland Streets. This is the same area that was the original centre of commerce in Auckland. It has retained this importance for nearly 150 years.

The building has a net lettable area of 37,800 square metres, almost twice the size of Wellington’s largest building, the Majestic Centre. By December, 2000 people will occupy the Royal & SunAlliance Centre.

“We wanted this building to be here 100 years from now – and I’m certain it will,” says Richard Didsbury, Managing Director of Kiwi Development Trust. “We have used the best materials available to us, and leading edge technology. It has the distinctive flavour of New Zealand – with fern motif on glass, its distinctive New Zealand gardens, and its artwork. It has world class facilities and is on a par with any of the best buildings you might see anywhere in the world.”

Alan Bradley, Chief Executive of Royal & SunAlliance agrees: “As the head tenant in this building, we can totally concur it’s stunning. It meets every rigorous specification made by our London based parent and will challenge every other office construction project for at least the next ten years to match it in terms of quality.”
KDT office tower.....2
Tenants have also commented that the quality of the building and spaces such as the lobby have helped them retain and recruit people.

“It’s had a positive effect on their human resources,” says Mr Didsbury. “The environment is so unique and appealing, tenants’ staff have been given a lift.”

“A key factor in our decision to take space in the building was the size and flexibility offered by the floor plates,” says Matthew Cockram, partner at law firm Bell Gully which will shortly move into the Centre. “We’ve been able to consolidate a number of compatible workgroups on one floor. The overall size and layout we’ve achieved is more efficient and encourages the team approach we’re striving to achieve.”

Mr Cockram pointed out that the building offered the potential for significant internal changes to business through its flexibility in workspaces, and improved amenities which “will hopefully instil and support a greater team culture and approach.”

Other tenants include: Russell McVeagh, ABN Amro, Phoenix Management.

A top line-up of New Zealand talent has contributed to the building. Brian Aitken of Peddle Thorp Aitken in Auckland was the architect, while Tony Rossi and Andrew Andersons of Peddle Thorp Walker in Sydney did the concept design. They worked to a brief to provide a “state of the art commercial office tower that would leave a lasting memory on the Auckland skyline.”

Fletcher Construction built the Royal & SunAlliance Centre, to time and on budget.

Noel Lane Architects of Auckland were commissioned to focus on the podium and public spaces, and the relationship of the building to the city.

Landscape architects the Isthmus Group of Auckland, have provided 2,000 plants, including 150 specimen trees such as cabbage trees, tree ferns, nikaus and featured Mercury Bay weed edgings to enhance the kiwi-ness of the building. Over 250 square metres in an outdoor plaza have been planted.

The Royal & SunAlliance features:

 Office tower floors the biggest for buildings of this type in New Zealand. At 1,200 square metres, they are the size of eight average houses. Their efficiency allows them to comfortably support a higher density of people than other buildings in New Zealand, like modern office towers in North America.
office tower.....3
Kiwi Development Trust researched the needs of tenants to define what they wanted in a building before designing it. Kiwi used a “design from the inside out” process to focus on tenants’ needs.
“We started with the central core,” says Mr Didsbury. “then worked our way out from the centre, testing it against tenants’ needs. The result was we optimised the useable floor plate space. This is directly in line with international trends.”

Because of floor plate sizes, tenants are able to radically reduce their space needs, but still accommodate the same number of staff. The building supports up to one person per ten metres square of space (New Zealand average for CBD office building is one person per 24 metres square).

 For the first time in the Southern Hemisphere, a Schindler Miconic lift control system application. These lifts group passengers to like floor destinations. A passenger selects a destination from the keypad, and the keypad advises which lift to go to. Overall lift trip time is reduced by as much as 30% at peak times.

 A lobby more like the best international hotels. This includes a bistro and separate espresso bar. Glass doors allow ambient natural light to seep into the lobby, and the area opens out onto decking and pathways amidst the lush, New Zealand garden. Inside and outside major, commissioned artworks and craft from New Zealand’s leading craftspeople, complements the atmosphere. The lobby has a special role in this building. Because of the high density of office space the lobby serves as an amenity for the building. It allows business tenants to use the lobby as a second, more casual meeting space. By having this facility available, tenants are able to keep down the size of space leased, and thus the cost of doing business is effectively lowered.

 A co-generation, standby power facility. Kiwi Development Trust wanted to ensure a match with the best practice overseas. In the event of mains power failure, dual standby generators will operate. The generators are also able to contribute or boost power to the building when mains power is at 50% (unusual in standby facilities – no other office building in New Zealand can currently do this.)

Other features include: an off street all weather passenger drop off and pickup; state of the art technology and lighting; personalised security access from the carpark; air conditioning which can be adjusted by individuals; a distributed transformer system which minimises the risk of data corruption and computer down time; a private gymnasium.

For more information please contact: Richard Didsbury: Phone (09) 357-9322
Catherine Peters, PRaxis Public Relations Limited, Phone (09) 373-5068; (025) 748-273

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