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Duncan Cotterill puts clients first in return to the city

4 September 2013

Duncan Cotterill puts clients first in return to the city

Christchurch’s and the South Island’s largest law firm, Duncan Cotterill, will return to the city by October next year, signing a lease on a new building in the Knox Plaza development on Victoria St.

The firm, which has more than 130 staff in Christchurch, has been based in Burnside since the February 2011 earthquake. Chief executive Terry McLaughlin says the firm is delighted to be moving back to the city.

“We have always said that we are committed to moving back into town. The opportunity to fully lease the office space in this development means we can be back much sooner than we might otherwise have been, and within an emerging professional services precinct.”

He sees Victoria St as one of several professional precincts in the central city, home to the likes of legal, accounting, financial services, engineering and architecture firms. The Victoria St precinct will soon be up and running and offers excellent parking and access for our clients at the door. The Knox Plaza development will be part of an emerging fresh business face in an entrance to the city.

Construction of the new four-level building, which will be set behind a “transparent” single storey structure housing retail and hospitality outlets, is under way and scheduled for completion by September 2014.

It has been designed to complement the neighbouring Knox Church, which is undergoing restoration work, with a campus-style setting incorporating a cloistered walkway and internal courtyard, and architectural features sympathetic to the church’s Gothic proportions.

The courtyard will feature a 12-metre high sculpture by leading Christchurch sculptor Graham Bennett.

McLaughlin says Duncan Cotterill will occupy all of the building’s office space, with some 2,800 square metres over three levels.

“It means we will have our own building, with our own naming and signage rights. We will be making a highly visible commitment to Christchurch, our clients will enjoy easy access and on-site parking, and our staff will be working in an excellent environment.”

McLaughlin says a survey of staff found they wanted to be based back in town in a low-rise building, within a developed area.

“This building will tick all of those boxes and, at the same time, will be a fantastic piece of architecture. The fact that it is engineered to 130% of New Building Standard provides our staff and clients with additional reassurance.”

The new building’s owner, John Ryder, describes Duncan Cotterill as an ideal tenant.

“Duncan Cotterill has a proud history as a leading law firm in Christchurch. As the sole occupant, they will give a legal theme to the building, which will be in keeping with other developments in Victoria St.”

Ryder says the building will include features such as high performance glass, comprehensive recycling facilities, heat recovery and extensive use of natural light.

“We had an exciting chance to build something innovative and remarkable, and we grabbed it,” he says. “We’re very pleased to have so easily come up with something that is sensitive to the needs of the city and our obligations to the environment, as well as provide something operationally efficient for the tenant.”

The building has been designed by Kerry Mason, of MAP Architecture.

Mason shares Ryder’s enthusiasm for Duncan Cotterill’s tenancy, saying the firm will “add value” to the building and the building will “add value” to Duncan Cotterill.

“The space around a building can be just as important as the building itself, and Duncan Cotterill’s staff and clients will really enjoy the whole Knox Plaza environment – inside and outside.

“With no defined boundary between the Duncan Cotterill building and the church, and a site that will be sheltered on three sides, the design reflects the fantastic approach that has been taken by the building’s owner.”

“Previously, there was a multi-story tower building on the site. But John Ryder has allowed us to take a less conventional approach, which has been outstanding,” Mason says.

Duncan Cotterill is a national and trans-Tasman law firm. In addition to the Christchurch office, it has offices in Sydney, Auckland, Wellington and Nelson.


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