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Reaching for the sky... spectacular tower development plans unveiled for central city site

Tags: Auckland Auckland CBD Commercial

A 1,388sqm of Auckland central city land, one block East of Queen Street has been placed on the market for sale together with plans for the construction of a spectacular residential skyscraper.

The site consists of three titles totaling 1,388sqm together with the development potential from the neighbouring 759sqm property The site has a gross buildable floor area of 36,700 square metres. Plans for a 48 storey residential tower have been prepared and a Resource Consent has been obtained.

The plans for the site, developed by Paul Brown Architects, show a 178 metre tower can be built on the freehold land. At that height the potential hotel or apartment building would eclipse the Vero Centre - currently the tallest occupied building in the city.

Two buildings (one consists of three levels whilst the other is a seven level building) currently occupy the site and provide the opportunity for good holding income if renovated. The indicative architect’s concept shows 222 apartments with generous balconies. Alternative plans show 275 apartments could be constructed if a more intensive scheme was developed.

The plan also includes 282 square metres of ground floor retail space fronting Commerce Street, a large gymnasium, sauna, swimming pool, and eight levels of car parking for 250 vehicles - utilising a state-of the-art vehicle stacking system and electronic swipe card entry access.


The downtown land is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Auckland and CBRE through an international tender process closing on September 17. The four parcels of land include:


  • 10 Commerce Street – 599 square metres

  • 12 commerce Street – 556 square metres

  • Gore Lane – 233 square metres.

  • Together with the development potential from 8 Commerce Street - 759 square metres.

Bayleys 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 clubs, bars and restaurants as Seafarers Club, Ostro, Mexico, Café Hanoi, 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 building has been designed with a flexible width grid 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 level 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.

In 2009 it underwent a substantial refurbishment, both internally and externally – which saw the building services modernised and the retention of 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 the new tower forever and also substantially increases the permissible floor area of the sites being sold,” Mr Chan said.

“Similarly, the nearby Britomart precinct has a nine level height limit which will sit below the first level of residential apartments in the Commerce Street tower where the first apartment level starts at Level 12.

“Britomart has been substantially developed over the past few years with the remaining heritage-protected buildings unable to be developed above their current heights – thereby protecting the harbour views to the north from the Commerce Street tower forever.”

Tenants occupying the buildings on the site are retail tenants that all have demolition clauses allowing for a gradual and clean transition into the construction phase required for any new high-rise development. The vendor has obtained a demolition consent for the existing buildings.

A luxury-branded $50 million five-star Sofitel hotel is currently being built by the neighbour on the eastern boundary of the site. 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.

Fact file:


  • Four land parcels comprising 1388 square metres (2147sqm for planning purposes) of land bordered by Gore Street and Commerce Street in downtown Auckland city.

  • Plans for the development of a 178 metre tall apartment complex containing 222 dwellings ranging in size from 55 square metres to 600 square metres.

  • For sale by international tender through Bayleys Auckland salesperson James Chan and Warren Hutt from CBRE.

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