Aotea revamp a labour of Love

5:00 AM Saturday July 22, 2017 Colin Taylor

An artist’s impression of a rejuvenated area within Aotea Square, Auckland. Photo / Supplied

A luxury hotel, a boutique supermarket, A-grade office space, retail outlets and food and beverage tenancies, will all be encompassed within the commercial components of the rejuvenation of over half a hectare of land in Auckland’s Aotea Square surrounding the former civic administration building.

Auckland Council has granted Love & Co, which specialises in urban regeneration projects, development rights over the 5300sq m Mixed-Use CBD site with prime frontage to Mayoral Drive, Greys Avenue and Aotea Square.

Husband and wife team John and Josephine Love were formerly part of development company Tawera Group.

Managing director John Love says substantial refurbishment and seismic strengthening of the 18-level former Auckland City Council’s headquarters building will commence later this year, with preparatory works already underway internally on site. The building, to be known as The CAB (taken from Civic Administration Building) will comprise residential apartments on the upper floors and food and beverage facilities on the two lower floors. A total of 45 apartments have already been sold.

Love says the design and off-the-plan marketing of all the commercial components of the project known as the Civic Quarter are also well underway. A boutique supermarket brand has been selected and a heads-of-terms agreement has been signed with an owner-operator for the seven-floor luxury hotel.

The buildings will be linked by interconnecting laneways incorporating a mix of bar and restaurant, deli, retail and cultural offerings. Love says discussions are also well advanced with leading artisan food and beverage operators to bring these laneways to life.

At the same time as starting the refurbishment of The CAB, Love & Co will begin work on the three levels of basement car parking that will also form the foundation of several new buildings. “This process will ensure that the A-grade office space and hotel are delivered at the same time as the overall development,” says Love. 

Earlier this year, Bayleys director of hotels Nick Thompson and investment specialist Robert Platt were appointed to market the boutique hotel component of the development. “Our marketing campaign targeted well known hotel developers and operators both locally and globally and elicited a very strong response from the market, with multiple strong offers received,” says Thompson. “These have been narrowed down to one preferred party who Love & Co have signed a heads-of-terms agreement with.”  

The office floors at One Greys Avenue will each have a net lettable area of about 1000sq m. For tenants who can move quickly there is still the opportunity to customise aspects of the floor plates, says Love. “The building will be designed and built to Five-Star Green certification and an A-plus seismic rating.  There will be extensive basement car parking and a cycle park with adjoining showers and changing facility. In addition, there are 1000 car parks available directly adjacent in the Civic Carpark for staff and visitors alike.”

Lloyd Budd, Bayleys’ Auckland commercial and retail director, says there has been significant interest in the office space slated for occupation in around three years’ time.

“There is an opportunity for one tenant to take a significant amount of the office space and secure naming rights as well. We have already presented this option to several larger tenants looking for 3000 to 6000sq m.

“A large occupier would have the option of spreading a tenancy between One Greys Avenue and the pavilion style neighbouring CQHQ building to take advantage of a proposed open rooftop level on top of the latter. However, the developer will also consider single floor office tenancies.

“A big attraction for office occupants is the closeness to Aotea Station being developed as part of the City Rail Link.

“The surrounding vibrant laneway environment with also be a drawcard for tenants providing a workplace that is beyond ‘just another office block’ and would suit companies looking for a location that can provide their employees with a special experience and also enable their business to gain quality brand exposure.”

Love & Co has appointed Jasmax as project architects and Josephine Design the interior, exterior and landscape designers; BECA as engineering, quantity surveyors and project managers and Naylor Love as construction contractors. Naylor Love has recently completed Tawera Group’s latest project involving the conversion of Telecom’s old head office building in Hereford St into 119 luxury apartments.

“The Civic Quarter development will completely re-energise the area, with a focus on creating a true community feel, providing an integrated bar, restaurant, and lifestyle experience for residents, commercial occupants and visitors,” says Love. “It will celebrate local producers, with market outlets selling goods that are freshly baked, roasted and brewed.”