Tauranga’s 10-level tower

5:00 AM Saturday July 22, 2017 Colin Taylor

Craigs House is a planned major 10 level commercial building for downtown Tauranga – artist’s impression

Plans have been unveiled for a 10-level commercial and residential development that will tower over downtown Tauranga – and comprise two levels of retail space, five levels of office space, and three top levels of high-end apartments.

The property at 2 Devonport Rd (previously the Westpac Building) is currently the headquarters of Tauranga City Council.

Under the planned $50 million redevelopment, the existing building would be demolished around February next year, with construction of the new 14,000sq m tower scheduled to begin in the middle of next year, and completed by early 2020.

Financial investment advisory firm Craigs Investment Partners will take naming rights on the property, which will be named Craigs Investment Partners House, and will occupy the top two floors of commercial space – levels six and seven.

Frank Aldridge, Craig’s managing director, says the firm is pleased to have found commercial space that accommodates its growing business and is located in a prime position in the CBD.  “The development of 2 Devonport Road means we remain in the heart of the city and offer a new workspace for staff with exceptional views across the Tauranga Harbour,” Aldridge says.

The street level and first floor of the building will be configured into a mix of high-end retail and food and beverage tenancies while the middle three floors – levels three, four and five –  will be to leased office tenants.

The top three floors – eight, nine and 10 – will house nine apartments of about 300sq m each, inclusive of balconies.

Bayleys Tauranga has been appointed the leasing and sales agency for the retail and commercial premises, and the apartments.

Agency manager Dickie Burman says that the public release of the 2 Devonport Rd plans follow tenancy discussions that have been underway for some months with potential commercial, retail, and hospitality operators.

“Craigs House will be at the bow-wave of reshaping downtown Tauranga – bringing together commercial activity, a retail focus, and inner-city living,” Burman says.

“Wingate Architects has designed the building’s super-structure, but have left some ‘wriggle room’ to individualise internal floor space according to the needs of potential tenants.

“We are building up a portfolio of interested parties – which have indicated a preference for design aspects. We anticipate the ‘book’ will be full by the final quarter of this year, at which point we’ll be sitting down with the developer to look at the most co-efficient options for floor space.

“At that stage, we’ll all have a better idea of the per square metre rates for the various commercial and retail spaces.”

Burman says it’s a similar scenario for the residences atop the tower block.

“Like the commercial spaces below, there are initial architect’s plans for the apartment configurations, but these can of course be modified to suit individual purchasers’ requirements.

“Presently, we are logging registrations of interests. When final pricings and dwelling configurations have been confirmed, those at the top of the list will be given first right of refusal as to whether they wish to take up a purchase option or not.”

The announcement of the plans for Craigs Investment Partners House comes just weeks after a Bayleys’ Research report forecasting that Tauranga’s CBD is poised to see significant changes to its skyline in the near future.

The existing building was purchased by the Carr family in December 1995. A statement from the family says it wasn’t originally envisaged that the building would be pulled down so soon. “However, we have always realised that a larger, more modern building in the location could house a greater number of commercial tenants, as well as offering apartment residents magnificent accommodation.

“We see the new building as a necessary hub in the wheel, from which Tauranga CBD can develop and transform from into the future.”

The project is being undertaken by a consortium of Tauranga entities – including Richard Cashmore, Chairman of Realty Group (Bayleys and EVES), parties related to Craigs Investment Partners and members of the Carr family.

Cashmore says the proposed tower project is a step forward for the Tauranga CBD and the Bay of Plenty region.

“We believe this will not only serve the practical needs of all parties involved, but also be the next step in transforming Tauranga into a business hub. A building of this size and quality is an exciting prospect.”