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Wellington Development Takes Top Honours And Multiple Accolades In 2024 Property Industry Awards

Rider Levett Bucknall Supreme Award winner 8 Willis Street & Stewart Dawson’s Corner / SUPPLIED

Auckland, 14 June 2024: 8 Willis Street & Stewart Dawson’s Corner is the standout property in this year’s Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards.

For the past 34 years the Property Industry Awards has been the most prestigious property awards programme in Aotearoa New Zealand celebrating excellence in design and innovation in the built environment. This year’s ceremony was held tonight at Spark Arena.

Taking home the Rider Levett Bucknall Supreme Award as well as category wins in the RCP Commercial Office Property Award and the Naylor Love Heritage & Adaptive Reuses Property Award, 8 Willis Street & Stewart Dawson’s Corner is an integration and expansion of two properties on Lambton Quay.

In addition to these accolades the building also boasts significant sustainable credentials – and was awarded Excellence in the Resene Sustainable Building Property Award category too.

Owner and developer Argosy Property Ltd leveraged its experience with previous Green Star projects to develop Wellington’s first Built 6 star Green Star building featuring dynamic dampers to absorb earthquakes and decarbonisation strategies to lower overall carbon emissions by 38% over a 60-year lifespan.

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The result is 18,700m2 of premium mixed-use space which has enabled the tenant to achieve a people-centered workspace reflective of cultural narratives and values including manaakitanga (hospitality) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship). In addition, the building retains its original heritage façade.

The judging panel were particularly impressed not only by the complexity of the build but also the thoughtfulness of the construction. Andrew Evans, chief judge, Property Industry Awards said: “This is a particularly tight site which makes construction, waste sorting on premise and rubble removal tricky, further impacted by the need to maintain the original structure on the frontage. But the Argosy team approached challenges like this, along with the rest of the project, in an innovative manner, capitalising on all their learnings over the last 10 years of sustainable building.

“They looked for local trades to help with the project as they uncovered unexpected issues along the way, giving ten percent of the procurement to Māori businesses. It’s a stunning achievement and a great case study for engineers and the property industry of what to do.”

Well subscribed across the categories

This building, while clearly a standout, is among great company with the Awards receiving over 130 entries this year – the highest number to date. The Kāinga Ora Community & Affordable Housing category saw a significant number of entries, along with the Templeton Group Multi-Unit Residential and Colliers Project Leaders Education categories. The winning properties here were the Riccarton Road Project in Christchurch and Wellington’s Victoria Lane Apartments respectively.

Said Evans: “Many of the entries were projects that had been started pre-Covid which naturally added significant challenges and complexity to them. However, the overall resilience and innovation of these teams to minimise costs and time lost was remarkable.

“We were also all really impressed by the passion of the people involved in the projects, especially in the Kāinga Ora Community & Affordable Housing Property Award space. The teams we spoke to had a focus far greater than just fulfilling their job description – they showed a real intention to create comfortable, beautiful spaces with clever solutions designed to be fit-for-purpose for residents.”

The 2024 awards also saw a new category added – the Oceania Retirement Living & Aged Care Property Award which went to The Helier in Auckland.

“Good buildings are designed with intention about who will use and occupy them in the future and this property has really achieved this. This building has focused on accessibility and quality finishes be it through the inclusion of ramps and walkways, to a fully equipped leisure centre and concierge and chauffeur on call. The site offers both luxurious individual accommodation and care suites allowing for a seamless transition for residents should their needs change.”

Wellington in full bloom

In addition to the above, two more Wellington properties took top honours this year with a further nine receiving Excellence or Merit awards. The other category winners in the region include the Warren and Mahoney Civic, Health & Arts Property Award for Tākina - Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre and the Templeton Group Multi-Unit Residential Property Award for the Victoria Lane Apartments.

“Tākina - Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre is a space that truly celebrates Wellington,” said Evans.

Gifted by Taranaki Whānui the name ‘Tākina’ means to “invoke”, “connect” or “bring forth”.

“The building has a beautiful flow with multiple open areas, really living up to its name of providing a space for people to connect. The bulk of the development and building team come from the region and they have created a multi-use building that can cater for events of all sizes providing much-needed infrastructure and service that will provide ongoing economic benefit to the community.”

Building communities

The impact that a new development has on a community was a strong theme for the judges this year. Another great example of this is this year’s Yardi Retail Property Award winner, Invercargill Central.

This new precinct has created a pedestrian friendly, attractive and enticing town centre which delivers an upgraded retail hub for the local community focused on user enjoyment. The internal retail planning strategy is designed to maximise existing pedestrian flows throughout whilst remaining respectful of the site’s history and neighbouring environment.

Said Evans, “the developers worked closely with the council and the private owners of the site resulting in a well thought out retail block which integrates well with the surrounding infrastructure. You can't underestimate the positive impact of something of this scale in a small town. This new site is welcoming people back.”

Property Council New Zealand chief executive Leonie Freeman said, “This year’s winners truly demonstrate the impact that a property can have on the people and businesses it is designed to house. More than just beautiful buildings, the award winners shape communities, crafting spaces for New Zealanders to live, work and play. And, in turn these property owners and the property industry are important contributors to the country’s economy.”

Visit the Property Industry Awards website for more information: https://www.propertynz.co.nz/property-industry-awards

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