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Former landmark CBD building set to rise from the rubble

2 March 2012

Former landmark CBD building set to rise from the rubble

Work will begin this year on a new medium-rise office building on the former landmark BNZ House site in Cathedral Sq.

Concept plans were today unveiled for the 13-level office building designed by Warren and Mahoney.

Owned by Cristo Ltd, a small private company of local investors, 2 Cathedral Sq will rise 50m and contain 11,000m2 of leasable space, including penthouse levels. It will have a similar shape and size to the previous building but incorporate the latest engineering and design features.

Construction is dependent on pre-leasing and availability of insurance but the owners intend to begin this year with completion scheduled for 2015.

Jonathan Lyttle and Ryan Geddes, specialist office leasing agents at Colliers International, said the medium-rise block would have a 5Green Star rating. Clad in glass on three sides, areas of the exterior would bear the same green welsh slate as the former building.

“The owners appreciate that they have one of the most important sites in Christchurch on a major intersection and they want the building to help open the south east end of the Square to be a more vibrant and welcoming place.

“This design respects the landmark building that anchored that corner of the Square for almost 50 years while signaling a more user friendly approach.”

Structural engineer John Hare of Holmes Consulting said the owners are investigating designing the building with deep piles and a steel frame with seismic dampers to give significantly improved performance if there were more large earthquakes.

“The dampers are similar to large shock absorbers which would dissipate energy in the event of an earthquake, reducing the amount of movement felt by tenants, and reducing the damage to their contents,” Hare said.

The seismic dampers on the Colombo St end of the building will be a visible design feature, encased in glass walls so that tenants can see the engineering in the building.

Colliers said that as the cost of building was still being calculated, rentals had not yet been fixed. But, given the quality of the building, they would be at the top end of the proposed new designs in Christchurch.

Architect Andrew Barclay, of Warren and Mahoney, said that in designing 2 Cathedral Sq, they were aware of the responsibility to deliver a new model for commercial development in the city, to provide a sustainable design, “and to signify a fresh start in an optimistic and confident direction for Christchurch.”

Barclay said that new buildings had the opportunity to reflect the needs of commercial tenants in what was effectively a new Christchurch market.

“Tenant expectations for A-Grade space will be in line with our experience in Auckland and Wellington. Tenants are looking for very high levels of efficiency and flexibility as well as space that will support new ways of working with more collaboration between business units. The building must act as a real and effective business tool.”

The design features a ground floor café, and other retail. A large foyer opening from Hereford St through to Cathedral Sq will incorporate a stained glass artwork recovered from the older building.

Car park stackers will be used to maximise the number of car parks in the basement.

Naming rights will be available.

ENDS

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