Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

$60m CBD project in sight of start line

A computer generated image or artists impression of the VOTR or Victoria on the River. Photo / Supplied.
A computer generated image or artists impression of the VOTR or Victoria on the River. Photo / Supplied.

A $60 million development - including a four-storey office development housing 450 staff and a food and beverage precinct - in the heart of Hamilton's Victoria St is close to being given the green light.

Developer McConnell Property told city councillors yesterday it wanted to begin construction of the contemporary 5000sq m office block with two basement levels of car parking, a cafe and restaurant at the council-owned Victoria on the River site in January next year.

Final negotiations with the city council over the site are under way and include settling on a sale price for the land - some of which the council would reinvest in a public plaza.

The 4773sq m site, which the council purchased for $2 million in 2009, has a capital value of $2.96 million and is being used as a car park. The plan is to sign off the deal by September and get resource consent approval in November.

The development will be carried out in conjunction with SkyCity Hamilton, which plans to develop a three-storey food and beverage precinct on the north side of the site to link in with the casino. The precinct would support the casino's earlier plans to build a 135-room four-star hotel above it which would answer the city's shortage of hotel accommodation.

The proposed development includes a public plaza linking Victoria St to the river. The river promenade would also be extended from SkyCity to run in front of the new facility.

McConnell Property is in talks with two possible tenants which are national corporations interested in expanding their Hamilton operations.

McConnell Property senior development manager Dean Shields said they were under pressure to get the work started soon to meet the tenants' requirements.

This will be the third development McConnell Property has committed to in Hamilton with work on the Citygate office development on the corner of Anglesea and Ward Sts beginning last month. The company was also behind the Titanium Park business park at Hamilton Airport.

Councillor Dave Macpherson raised concerns about traffic getting on to the main street and the large number of pedestrians crossing the road.

"I don't think these are insurmountable obstacles - just stuff to be worked [on]."

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said the Victoria on the River development was just one example of a number of big investments happening in Hamilton - including Lyall Green's development on the old Hamilton Club site which Mighty River Power's 160 workers are moving into.

"On top of that there's lots of other investment with redevelopment in existing buildings also going on. There's a lot of ... development happening in the central city which is very exciting and good news for Hamilton," she said.

"At the end of the day it's about developers having the confidence Hamilton is a good place to build."

Victoria on the River was one of four sites earmarked by the council in mid-2011 to put out to the market in a bid to revive the CBD.

GOING TO TOWN

$60m complex including $30m office block, a food and beverage precinct and river promenade.

Deal to be made to purchase the Victoria on the River land from Hamilton City Council by September.

Two major tenants lined up for four-storey building housing 450 workers

Work to begin in January 2013.

- NZ Herald

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