City site has plans for Vero-eclipsing tower

5:00 AM Wednesday July 1, 2015 Colin Taylor

Artist’s impression of planned 48-storey hotel or residential/retail tower at 10-12 Commerce St in the Auckland CBD.

Resource Consent has been obtained and plans have been drawn up for a 48 storey hotel and/or apartment building with street level retail space on an Auckland city site for sale one block east of Queen St near the Britomart precinct.

Three titlestotalling1388 sq m at 10-12 Commerce St and Gore Lane have further development potential from a neighbouring 759 sq m property at 8 Commerce St. The four land parcels total 2147 sq m for planning purposes and have gross buildable floor area of 36,700 sq m. 

Plans by Paul Brown Architects for the freehold land depict a 178 metre residential tower that would eclipse the Vero Centre - currently the tallest occupied building in the city.

Two buildings – one of three levels and the other seven levels – occupy the site and would provide good holding income if renovated.

The indicative architect’s concept shows 222 apartments with generous balconies and ranging in size from 55 sq m to 600 sq m.

Alternative plans show 275 apartments could be constructed if a more intensive scheme was developed.

Also included is 282 sq m of ground floor retail space fronting Commerce St, a large gymnasium, sauna, swimming pool, and eight levels of car parking for 250 vehicles - using a state-of the-art vehicle stacking system and electronic swipe card entry access.

The downtown land is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Auckland and CBRE through an international tender process closing on September 17.

Four parcels of land could be involved in a prospective high rise development: 10 Commerce St of 599 sq m; 12 Commerce St of 556 sq m; Gore Lane of 233 sq m; and 8 Commerce St of 759 sq m.

Inline10-12 Commerce St, Auckland CBD - entry frontage - artist's impression.jpg

Artist’s impression of the Commerce St entry to proposed tower block.

James Chan of Bayleys says the city area surrounding the new tower has undergone significant ‘gentrification’ over the past six years.

“The Britomart quarter has been instrumental in raising the quality of commercial tenancies around Auckland’s downtown rail hub. In addition to blue chip corporates like Westpac and Ernst & Young which relocated their offices to the area, there has also been the shift of fashion brands such as Karen Walker and Trelise Cooper to the precinct,” Chan says.

“It has also evolved as a hospitality hub with the emergence of such clubs, bars and restaurants as Seafarers Club, Ostro, Mexico, Café Hanoi, Tyler Street Garage, 1885 and the Britomart Country Club.

“The vendor of the Customs, Commerce and Gore streets site has developed a scheme designed to demonstrate what can be built on the location given the zoning. However, the site is also suitable for the development of an office tower or Mixed Use building.

“The planned building has been designed with a flexible width grid so that the internal floor plans can be easily changed to incorporate different internal layouts.”

Chan says building covenants protecting historic Achilles House, which was built in 1904 as a kauri gum trading post for LD Nathan and Co, will ensure the six level building remains unchanged.

In 2009 Achilles House underwent a substantial refurbishment, both internally and externally that saw the building services modernised with its character features retained. It houses a mix of retail tenants at street level, with commercial occupants in the five levels above.

“The height covenant on Achilles House protects the views of the new tower forever and also substantially increases the permissible floor area of the sites being sold,” Chan says.

“Similarly, the nearby Britomart precinct has a nine level height limit which will sit below the first level of residential apartments in the Commerce Street tower where the first apartment level starts at Level 12. 

“Britomart has been substantially developed over the past few years with the remaining heritage-protected buildings unable to be developed above their current heights – thereby protecting the harbour views to the north from the Commerce Street tower forever.”

Chan says tenants occupying the buildings on the site are retail tenants that all have demolition clauses allowing for a gradual and clean transition into the construction phase required for any new high-rise development and the vendor has obtained a demolition consent for the existing buildings.

A luxury-branded $50 million five-star Sofitel hotel is being built by the neighbour on the eastern boundary of the site. The mid-rise hotel encompasses the façade and core structure of what was the former Reserve bank Building, and is scheduled for completion and opening next year.

James Chan.jpg

James Chan of Bayleys.