Ground work preparations are well under way on the new Fonterra headquarters site in the Viaduct Harbour area on the corner of Fanshawe St and Halsey St.
Eventually, buildings worth up to $500 million are planned on the site, previously used for carparking with an office furniture building which was demolished last year.
The Fletcher Construction site, which runs back to Gaunt St, has been fenced for security and safety reasons and a mobile crane is working on the land across from Vodafone's headquarters.
Four to five buildings of 50,000sq m or 5ha of floorspace will eventually rise on that leasehold site opposite Victoria Park.
Fonterra will lease 16,000sq m of that, in a seven-storey building, leaving its Princes St headquarters. More than 1000 Fonterra staff will eventually work in the building, a block back from the waterfront.
Goodman Property Trust bought the Fonterra building for $92.6 million and chief executive John Dakin said that deal provided a unique opportunity to invest in one of the city's most strategic areas where a long-term lease had been struck with a high-quality tenant.
A second building is being developed by Goodman Group on an uncommitted basis and the two new buildings will provide almost 25,000sq m of rentable space, Dakin said.
That would make them one of the largest commercial developments undertaken in Auckland in the last five years, he said.
Theo Spierings, Fonterra chief executive, said the farming co-op was closely linked to the land so it was important the design reflected an environmentally conscious approach.
Fonterra has taken a 15-year lease over the building which includes naming rights, underground car parks and further rights of renewal.