Future-proof premises in slick new hub

9:40 AM Saturday September 13, 2014 Colin Taylor

Artist's impression of new 8500 sq m office building called VXV Three to be built on the corner of Halsey St & Gaunt St in the Wynyard Quarter.

A start has been made on a new six-level "spec" office building for Auckland's Wynyard Quarter, marking the next stage in the redevelopment of land between The Viaduct and Victoria Park.

The 8500sq m office building is within a new commercial hub called VXV and is being developed by the ASX-listed Goodman Group in partnership with Fletcher Building.

The building is named VXV Three, until its naming rights are secured, and will be ready for occupation in March 2016, just two months after the completion of the adjacent Fonterra head office building.

It is being constructed on a 2350sq m brownfield site at the corner of Halsey St and Gaunt St, opposite the Vodafone and Microsoft buildings.

Office space in the premium-grade building is now being offered for lease through exclusive agents Paul Dyson and Chris Palmer of Colliers International.

"This new building gives businesses an opportunity to be at the centre of one of New Zealand's largest urban regeneration projects," Dyson says.

"The redevelopment of land between the Viaduct and Victoria Park, which is mainly used currently for marine-related and light industrial activities, is the country's biggest urban regeneration project outside of Christchurch. It will transform the Viaduct Quarter and neighbouring Wynyard area into a modern, master-planned mixed-use precinct adjacent to the waterfront and the central business district."

The commitment to the precinct shown by Auckland Council and major land owners and developers is coming together into initiatives and projects that will see it become an attractive place to work, live and play, Dyson says. "Importantly, major businesses are committing to the area - most notably Fonterra."

Palmer says the very low availability of modern, premium and A-grade office space in the Auckland CBD means conditions are right for Goodman to proceed with constructing VXV Three on an uncommitted basis.

"Auckland desperately needs new office space for New Zealand's top-performing, progressive businesses to be able to grow and prosper," says Palmer. "The VXV commercial hub is an ideal business location, already proven by the success of major office developments occupied by big-hitters such as Vodafone, Air New Zealand, KPMG, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard."

He says the shortage of quality CBD office space is at a critical point, with the prime vacancy rate at an all-time low of just 1.4 per cent - well below the long-term average of around 8 per cent.

"The largest area of contiguous, premium office space now available in the CBD is less than the size of one 1542sq m floor in the VXV Three development.

"For a business wanting to move to functional, efficient, open-plan office space across large uninterrupted floor plates, this development will be top of the wishlist."

Dyson says the strong backing of Goodman and Fletcher Building provides certainty of delivery which is vital in today's market.

"We know that many offshore businesses, for example Asian financial institutions, are looking to set up in Auckland for the first time and having the certainty of timely completion is very important to these prospective tenants."

Peter Dufaur, general manager of development at Goodman, says the company is confident that economic growth, business confidence, demand and the limited supply of quality office space will ensure a successful take-up of space in the VXV Three building and will support further development within the VXV hub.

"Given the demand from businesses keen to be part of the regeneration of the Viaduct Quarter and which want to have a visible presence there, we are expecting plenty of interest," Dufaur says.

Dyson says VXV Three is being constructed in a corner position with excellent visual profile to Halsey St and Gaunt St. "The site offers very high-profile exposure to the tenant that takes out the naming rights."

The building has been designed by the well-known architectural firm Jasmax, supported by Beca, Holmes Consulting and RCP.

The building is being designed to five green-star level and will also be configured to allow for a rating under the newly introduced Nabers NZ standard, which is expected to become a mandatory rating tool for the construction industry.

It will incorporate a number of sustainable design elements including high performance glazing and insulation to reduce heat transfer and energy use; "intelligent" lighting design to reduce overall occupancy costs; and rain water harvesting, low-flow water systems and tapware to improve water efficiency.

Palmer says the engineering specifications will meet all current seismic standards.

"VXV Three will provide future-proofed office space with sustainable features and open floor plates to encourage collaboration among staff and shared areas to provide a vibrant and engaging workplace."

Hospitality and food service retail will take up the ground floor space, with office space on levels one through five. Secure car parking will be provided in the basement, along with bike racks and showers.

Dyson says tenants can opt for open-plan office areas from 500sq m right up to full floors or more.

"The office floors will have a three-metre stud - higher than the typical office ceiling height of 2.7 metres. The entry foyer will also be light and open, featuring a double-height atrium."

The building will open on to a 1350sq m landscaped plaza which has been designed to capture the afternoon sun and be a key feature of the VXV commercial hub. It will provide a gathering place for corporate and public activities as well as operating as the street address and the "front door" for the building.

Palmer says upgrades to surrounding streetscapes are now under way.

"In time the area will provide for a wide range of retail, food and entertainment businesses servicing workers in VXV Three and the surrounding buildings," he says.

"This area is fast becoming a desirable and convenient place to work, linking the broad green spaces of Victoria Park with the harbour.

"Many bus routes ply the adjacent Fanshawe St, including express buses to the North Shore and the inner and outer city Link buses."

Dyson says the waterfront area to the west of the CBD is pivotal to the council's vision for Auckland.

"Auckland Council aims to deliver a world-class waterfront - exhibiting superbly designed and sustainable urban development that will attract investors, businesses and residents.

"The proposed transformation of the waterfront is in harmony with Auckland Council's vision of making the city one of the world's most liveable cities. An important element of this concept is re-connecting residents, city workers and visitors with the waterfront and connecting the waterfront with the adjacent CBD by providing a high-quality mixed use residential, retail, office and hospitality area."

Proposals for the area include an "innovation precinct" for technology companies, more office space, more than 500 apartments and an international hotel.