Wellington CBD on cusp of next office development cycle

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The next phase of commercial building development is starting in the Wellington CBD, geared to meet a high level of ‘pent up demand.’

Steve Maitland, a specialist in CBD office leasing in the capital, says that there will shortly be four new commercial property projects underway in the central city. 

“The big question is, ‘will this be enough?’

“To put it in perspective, Wellington lost a significant amount of building stock in the 2016 earthquake, some of which has been repaired or strengthened and returned to the market, but some of which has disappeared entirely.”

The new complexes poised to get underway are:

  • Precinct Properties intends to start building the second stage of the Bowen campus development at 40 Bowen Street, providing around 10,000sqm of office space to three main corporate anchor tenants, Fujitsu, EY and Generator. Pending future tenant demand, Precinct also has plans to build an adjacent building of similar size, linked to 40 Bowen Street by atrium.
  • On the waterfront, Newcrest has committed BNZ as sole tenant at 1 Whitmore Street and the site is being prepared for a new 12 storey base-isolated office building, providing 17,000sqm of premium grade offices.
  • Willis Bond & Co has started site works on their Victoria Lane Office Campus in Victoria Street. They are offering three floors of office space totalling 3000sqm. They also have plans to add a further office building offering an additional 6000sqm of space. These floors can be interlinked providing 9000sqm in total.
  • Willis Bond & Co’s plans for Site 9,15 Customhouse Quay are also well advanced with Bell Gully the foundation tenant; two floors remain available for lease providing 900 -1800sqm of space.

These developments are in addition to the office space currently being strengthened and refurbished by Prime Properties at 2-10 Brandon Street, where 14,000sqm is earmarked for completion later this year. RJH are also refurbishing and extending an existing building on the corner of Featherston and Brandon Streets, providing 2500sqm of boutique office space.

Maitland says tenants are still seeking larger floor areas and improved ways of working.

“More flexible working styles will need to be accommodated by businesses and their workers, particularly in the aftermath of lockdown and enforced ‘work from home’ regimes.

“Interestingly, there’s talk of ‘expanded’ work areas becoming more favoured – a result of the social distancing movement and a change from the historic drive to tighter work areas and more efficient ‘people to square metres’ measures.”

Consolidation of sites is also still occurring, says Maitland. For example, BNZ will be relocating from three buildings into one new building when it moves to Whitmore Street in the first quarter of 2023. Fujitsu currently operates from two sites and will move to a single location at Bowen Campus in late 2022.

Seismic resilience is still paramount with tenants chasing the minimum NBS rating of 100 per cent plus offered by these new buildings.

“New development rejuvenates a city as well as providing business with space better suited to their requirements. The signs for Wellington remain positive, with a continuing regeneration of existing stock and the healthy “crane count” on the horizon for new office schemes,” Maitland says.

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Steve Maitland

Associate Director

Wellington (Agency)

Steve has been working for Colliers International for over 20 years as an Associate Director of the company, specialising in office leasing and lease renegotiations for Corporate and Government Tenants predominantly within the Wellington central business area.

Steve has worked with many of the major occupiers in the City, and has recently transacted deals for New Zealand Law Society, Meredith Connell, Ministry of Education, GWRC, Volpara, CCL, MFAT and Historic Places Trust. 

Steve receives a high amount of referral and repeat work as Tenants grow/restructure or revisit the market leading up to lease expiry.

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