2016 date for start on NDG skyscraper

10:30 AM Friday March 13, 2015 Anne Gibson

A view of the proposed NDG tower on the corner of Elliott St, Victoria St and Albert St in Auckland's CBD.

Chinese developers say 52-level complex to rival Sky Tower on prime CBD site should be ready in five years.

A spokesman for Chinese developer NDG said plans for the 52-level NDG tower in Auckland's centre were in hand.

"Everything is going well and construction will commence according to plan next year," the spokesman said.

The completion date is set as 2020.

Furu Ding, the multimillionaire Shanghai NDG chief, is understood to be visiting Auckland today, working with lawyers at Russell McVeagh.

In February last year, Auckland Mayor Len Brown announced resource consent had been granted for Ding's $350 million, 209m tower on the site of the old Royal International Hotel off Albert St, shorter only than the Sky Tower.

Ding intends to build shops and apartments and perhaps a Ritz Carlton hotel on the corner of Albert, Victoria and Elliott Sts.

Ritz Carlton is understood to have examined the plans closely and sought some design changes in the past few months.

Brown said the tower would be only 119m shorter than the Sky Tower and the target for building consent was 2015, meaning it could be completed by 2020.

Simon Berry of lawyers Berry Simons acted for NDG and he said there was nothing stopping the owner from developing the land.

"I helped them with the consents a long time ago. They are through. So, yes, my file is closed and I have not heard from the client. There are all sorts of reasons they might be delaying the start. I don't know whether they intend to proceed," he said.

James Kellow, director of NZ Mortgages & Securities, which is backed by multimillionaire Ted Manson of Manson TCLM, said big, empty, prime sites like the Royal International were bad for the city.

"There are too few incentives to landowners to develop them. The bungy site and Auckland Star sites are obvious candidates," he said, referring to the NDG site and the Fort St site of the defunct newspaper.

Big new property projects have been announced for Auckland in the past week: St James Suites will have up to 330 apartments and Albany Rose Garden will have 800.

Last week Prime Minister John Key said at the opening of NZIER's new Auckland office a Thai investor with $15 billion was in Auckland.

Chris Dibble, Colliers International's national research manager, said the Auckland CBD office supply was rising fast.

"Between 2015 and 2020 more than 100,000sq m of office space is forecast to be developed in the Auckland CBD and adjoining Victoria Quarter including Fonterra's HQ, VXV3, 151 Victoria St West, Precinct Properties' Downtown Centre and Wynyard Quarter redevelopments and other smaller developments."

Big new deals

• St James Suites: 39-level apartment tower, up to 330 units, 302 Queen St.
• Precinct Properties: 36-level $550m retail/office tower on Downtown site.
• Albany Rose Garden Apartment 800-unit scheme, 25 Don McKinnon Dr.
• NDG tower: 52-level hotel/apartment tower on Royal site by New Development Group.