Willow Street council building to be demolished
Negotiations are underway to move Tauranga City Council from its current location on Willow Street to a building to be developed at 90 Devonport Road.
Last week, the Commission agreed to the demolition of the current council building and central library on the Willow Street site.
A new civic amenity building incorporating a library and public gathering and research spaces, at an estimated cost of $47 million, will be developed on the Willow Street site.
In a statement released today, Tauranga City Council commissioners have approved the negotiation of lease arrangements for new civic administration premises in a building to be developed at 90 Devonport Road, subject to long term plan community consultation and final decision-making.
Following a detailed analysis of shortlisted development proposals, the Council has selected a preferred partner for the project, which will allow it to consolidate its administration activities in one city centre location, eliminating the inefficiencies involved in staff moving between three separate buildings.
Commission Chair Anne Tolley says a registration of interest process for the development drew nine proposals, of which three were evaluated on criteria covering location, lease terms, financial impact, building specifications and assessed risk.
“Our expert property advice identified a proposal from Willis Bond & Co. as delivering the best overall outcome and recommended that the Council negotiates a detailed lease arrangement,” she says.
“That responsibility has been delegated to the chief executive and provided the outcome meets our expectations, we hope to see our organisation under one roof in about three years’ time.”
Tolley says the move to bring administration staff together in one building is long overdue and would deliver efficiencies worth at least $1 million a year.
“The location is also strategically important, as it has the potential to activate a part of the city centre which has been in decline in recent years.
“In conjunction with the new Farmers building, this development would help reinvigorate the southern part of the city centre, encouraging new investment in retail and commercial activities.”
Last week, the Commission also agreed to the demolition of the current council building and central library on the Willow Street site.
The civic building saw its neighbouring headquarters demolished in 2017 following the discovery of toxic mould three years earlier.
At that time, the cost of the entire demolition is understood to have reached around $470,000.
Approval to bring down the remaining structure was on the agenda the March 8 meeting.
Council-owned properties at 82, 84, 90, 94, 96 and 98 Devonport Road have been sold to facilitate the development. Image: Google Maps.
Willis Bond & Co is well-known for its award-winning developments, recently taking the top architecture award for their Wynyard Central apartment development, along with a number of commercial property awards for their work on Wellington’s PwC building.
Managing director Mark McGuiness says the company is delighted to have been selected to take part in the detailed negotiations.
“We greatly value our relationship with the council and look forward to finalising the details of this landmark project, to share with the community.”
The council is the owner of the site (comprised of 82, 84, 90, 94, 96 and 98 Devonport Road), which is the subject of a conditional sale and purchase agreement with Willis Bond.
Council says these decisions will be subject to consultation through the draft 2021-31 long term plan process.