Willow Street council building to be demolished

The demolition of the Willow Street building has been approved. File photo.

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.

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Posted on 19-03-2021 09:20 | By Kancho

We’ll get real I’m not sure about Tauriko location at this point. The office could be anywhere true. A green field site as long as on a good bus route. With Cameron road still the main way south congestion that arguably will be worse soon as the council do a Greerton like job on it. Route K also but once arriving at the hectic multiple roundabout free for all at Tauriko. Think a lot of problems with traffic flow there. I think increased traffic woes doesn’t inspire me to think it’s a good place to travel to or have the TCC . The gold coast council moved we clear of the city with a bus which seems to work. Cheaper land to. Maybe the city is still the place ?

It's all political

Posted on 19-03-2021 08:14 | By WestieMum

I can understand that large employers are needed in the city centre to help revitalise, and with working from home becoming the norm, I guess TCC shouldn’t need as big a building. However, just how much money office workers bring into the city, apart from coffee sales, is debatable but we do know of the impact on traffic! More apartments that are affordable for "Joe Bloggs" so people can live and work in the city is what’s needed. I don’t like my rates increasing either, but the city has to get out of this quagmire somehow and hopefully private investors can help Council with that.


Posted on 19-03-2021 08:11 | By

They should be made to work in the mouldy building as a reminder of their incompetence. But no, build them a nice new plush office with all the bells and whistles and try and fool the idiots paying for it by saying it will rejuvenate the CBD. They have complete contempt for Ratepayers.

@ Terry Hall

Posted on 18-03-2021 20:49 | By

You hit the nail right on the head. They get enormous salaries and don’t have the $ worries. At the end of their day they go home to their own luxuries and just don’t care or understand or even want to. Would their decisions be the same if they were on the average persons/pensioners income?

Council staff manipuilation

Posted on 18-03-2021 19:35 | By CC8

The whole situation has been manipulated by council staff. They Took a minor leak issue, dragged it out and closed up the building to grow the mould and then demanded a move . Engineered the same move to a three way split. Then created an atmosphere of dismay, distrust and confusion in subsequent councils , eventually getting their wish for a commission.. where they can continue the manipulation and manifest their ultimate goals. Now we will have council’s offices in leased buildings on land we formerly owned. The empire gets bigger , the hidden agendas get buried further and little kingdoms are formed. By time we get back to elected representatives with community responsibility the Councillors will be in such a weak position that "staff" will just run wild and continue to control all outcomes at their pleasure. BTW the Greerton council flats have more moul


Posted on 18-03-2021 18:09 | By Told you

I hope the next building will have regular maintenance, not like the one to be demolished through lack of.

Do they need a huge monument

Posted on 18-03-2021 16:08 | By

Several council employees have said they are way more efficient working from home since the covid lockdown, no distractions, no gas bagging about how the weekend / kids/ weather etc was / are. And at no cost for the travel and flash building while you work at home

Combine Councils

Posted on 18-03-2021 16:01 | By

I totally agree with the sentiment, combine the 3 Councils (TCC, WBOP & Regional Council) together and have one fit for purpose site in Tauriko as has been suggested. A huge opportunity has been missed here & again has been talked about over the past 10 years or so with no headway happening. The cost savings would have been significant probably somewhere in the 10’s of millions of dollars a year, a more streamlined one Council approach saving time & efficiencies and less duplication of roles & processes. It’s a no-brainer!!!


Posted on 18-03-2021 14:24 | By

Be realistic and combine offices and staff with WB Regional Council and build separate library and Museum.....


Posted on 18-03-2021 14:22 | By

Why should rate payers suffer, this has happened by the idiots in council who were incompetent, going back to the Pope days, then Crosby, and now the present day, they are slowly rating people out of there homes, I am 86 being retired 26 years, what with inflation over the years my retirement savings are diminishing fast, we have to get rid of this lot and fast, as for Tolley i do not think there will be much improvement there, these people get enormous salary’s they do not have to worry about things like that.


Posted on 18-03-2021 13:55 | By Mallyg

you are so right 20% and 39% for businesses where does it end that means rents will go up and every think else will follow because landlords & business will have to recoup there bit cheers mallyg


Posted on 18-03-2021 13:55 | By

Is it just because the harbour views are much more impressive...? Because access by those footing ALL of the bills will be seriously impacted, unless we’re going to reroute the buses down Devonport Rd and build a two storey bikerack out front. My thoughts many months ago, when the initial discussions about a leaking building were forthcoming, that a major move to Tauriko should have eventuated. Easy public access, plenty of space and reasonable access to all areas of the city along the main carriageways. The usual egocentric attitudes prevail from council. Appearances above abilities

Tom Ranger

Posted on 18-03-2021 13:11 | By

@jed. Holy hell!!! 38% over two years. Unacceptable. I predicted this place will be like Pokeno where the life-time residents are being pushed out of the town they grew up in.


Posted on 18-03-2021 13:00 | By Told you

Is it absolutely essential that the Council offices be in the city? I’m sure a more suitable site could be found.

This is another reason rates are skyrocketing!

Posted on 18-03-2021 12:20 | By jed

My rates lifted 15% last year, this year they are going up 20% if media reports are correct. That is a 38% rates increase 2 years! Council say they are underfunded, I say they are incompetent. Look at all the disasters!