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Land for NZ’s tallest new sky-scraper goes on the market

Media Release
22.9.2014

Land for New Zealand’s tallest new sky-scraper goes on the market for sale

A block of Auckland CBD land with plans for the construction of the New Zealand’s tallest sky-scraper has been placed on the market for sale.

The site has two street frontages with access from Gore Street and a long frontage to Commerce Street. The site has a gross buildable floor area of 36,000 square metres and plans have been prepared for a 48 storey residential tower.

Architect’s plans for the site show a 170 metre high structure can be built on the land. At that height, a potential hotel or apartment building would eclipse Vero Centre currently the tallest occupied building in the city.

An existing three level and a seven level building currently occupy the site and provide the opportunity for good holding income if renovated. The indicative architect’s concept shows 202 apartments ranging in size from 55 square metres to 600 square metres.

The plan also includes 290 square metres of ground floor retail space in a varied configuration of floor sizes, a large gymnasium and pool, and seven levels of dual-entry car parking for 216 vehicles utilising a state-of the-art vehicle stacking system.
The downtown land is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Auckland Central.

Salesperson James Chan said the area of town immediately encircling the new tower had undergone significant ‘gentrification’ over the past six years.

“The Britomart quarter has been instrumental in raising the quality of commercial tenancies around Auckland’s downtown rail hub. In addition to the likes of blue chip corporates such as Westpac and Ernst & Young relocating their offices to the area, there has also been the shift of fashion brands such as Karen Walker and Trelise Cooper to the precinct,” Mr Chan said.

“Not to mention the evolution of the area as a hospitality hub with the emergence of such bars and restaurants as Mexico, Café Hanoi, Ostro, Tyler Street Garage, 1885 and the Britomart Country Club.

“The vendor of the Customs, Commerce and Gore streets site has developed a scheme designed to demonstrate what can be built on the location given the zoning. However, the site is also suitable for the development of an office tower, hotel, or mixed-use building.

“The site is being sold together with the development rights. A flexible width grid has been developed so that the internal floor plans can be easily changed to incorporate different internal layouts.”

Mr Chan said building covenants protecting Achilles House would ensure the historic six storey building would remain unchanged from its current form. Achilles House was built in 1904 as a kauri gum trading post for LD Nathan and Co.

It underwent a substantial refurbishment – both internally and externally – in 2009, which saw the modernisation of much of its infrastructure while retaining its character features. The building houses a mix of retail tenants at street level, with commercial occupants in the five levels above.

“The height covenant on Achilles House protects the views of a new tower block forever and also substantially increases the permissible floor area of the remainder of the adjoining land within the parcel,” Mr Chan said.

“Similarly, the nearby Britomart precinct is well developed now and has a nine level height limit while its heritage-protected buildings will remain at their current heights – thereby protecting the views of the upper levels within the planned Commerce Street tower where the first apartment level starts at Level 12.”

Tenants occupying the Commerce Street buildings within the land and buildings parcel being sold are retail outlets all with demolition clauses with 12-month notifications – allowing for a gradual and clean transition into the construction phase required for any new high-rise development.

A luxury-branded $50 million five-star Sofitel hotel is currently being built on the eastern boundary of the land parcel. The mid-rise hotel encompasses the façade and core structure of what was the former Reserve bank Building, and is scheduled for completion and opening next year.

ENDS

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