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Auckland CBD office building to get a new lease of life

Tags: Commercial

One of the more highly regarded Auckland CBD office towers developed in the 1980s is about to go undergo a major makeover following its shift back into New Zealand ownership.

Located on a 1005 sq m corner site, with frontage to Federal, Swanson and Hobson Streets, the 16-level Shine Lawyers building, which was completed in 1989, has been purchased by Bledisloe Property Group in a transaction negotiated by Bayleys executive director David Bayley and senior broker Andre Siegert.

David Bayley says the vendor was a UK based investment company that had owned the property since 1990.

“While there has been a significant increase in the volume and value of commercial properties sold to offshore buyers this year, we have also been involved in a variety of transactions where longstanding overseas ownership has been transferred back into New Zealand hands,” Bayley says. “It’s all part and parcel of being involved in a global commercial property market.”

Bledisloe Property Group is a privately owned company with a substantial portfolio of commercial and industrial investment and development property assets in New Zealand and Australia. 

Andre Siegert, who with Bayleys Auckland colleague Brendan Graves is also involved in a new leasing campaign for the building, says Belidisloe’s initial focus will be on refurbishing and upgrading office floors which are currently vacant or about to become vacant.

“The jewel in the crown will be the soon to be vacated 400 sq m top floor of the building which offers panoramic city and harbour views,” Siegert says. “Also available are Levels 1, 2 and 5 which can be leased as whole floors, or Bedisloe is willing to consider a two-tenancy split of approximately 260 and 140 sq m for smaller occupants looking for high quality CBD office accommodation. Levels 1-3 would also suit a tenant looking for contiguous floors which are hard to find in this sought after part of the CBD at the moment.”

Siegert says parts of Levels 3 and 4 are available for occupation and other floors further up the building are also likely to come up for lease longer term.

Siegert says there were a number of factors behind Bledisloe Property Group’s acquisition of the property.

“Originally known as the Royal & Sun Alliance Building, it is recognised as one of the 1980s’ better quality office developments and was solidly built to high specifications for its time. While it has become somewhat dated internally, it is still a very sound, attractive looking building and with a vacancy rate of close to 30 per cent it offered an immediate add value opportunity.”

The building is also located on a substantial podium which offers two levels of parking for approximately 53 cars. This equates to approximately one car park to every 100 sq m of net lettable office accommodation which is a better ratio than is now available in new buildings, says Siegert.

“The site’s three street frontages and large podium plaza entranceway means the building benefits from plenty of natural light, with unobstructed and protected views to the west out to the Waitakere Ranges and to the east over Federal Square. Upper levels also have good city and harbour views.”

Brendan Graves says the new landlord will be making a considerable investment in upgrading and modernising the building’s base services which will include energy efficient lighting and improved air conditioning, with exposed building services also increasing the stud height of floors. The building already has double glazing.

“The premium standard boutique office space should appeal to tenants in sectors such as financial services and medium sized legal, accountancy and business advisory firms who like the idea of being able to occupy a whole, self-contained floor of around 400 sq m,” Graves says.

There we also be a major renovation of the foyer to provide a more contemporary new look with upgraded lifts and tenancy boards.

Externally, there will be a comprehensive redesign of the substantial podium plaza entranceway to the building off Swanson St and Federal St. “A fire egress point on the corner of the two streets will be relocated and the concrete bunker-like structure that covers this will be removed. This will create a better connection with Federal Square which will become the main point of public entry to the building,” says Graves.

New “green” walls will run alongside either side of the relandscaped plaza area which will also incorporate a new food and beverage tenancy which Graves says will service both the building’s occupants as well as high numbers of passing pedestrians.

Lead architects for the redesign and refurbishment of the Shine Lawyers building are Monk McKenzie with interior architect Rufus Knight also working on the project.

Australasian legal firm Shine Lawyers recently took over naming rights to the building along with a lease over Level 12 which Brendan Graves negotiated. Graves says the continuing rejuvenation of properties in the area will get another major boost from Melbourne-based ICD Property’s plans to build a 45-level hotel and apartment building at 65 Federal St.

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