The first five-star New Zealand Green Building Council-certified distribution facility is planned for a 9609sq m brownfield redevelopment site at 82 Carbine Rd, Mt Wellington.
The building - 4433sq m of warehouse space with a 10.5m stud and 870sq m of office space - will embody the latest in sustainability design.
The site is owned by a private investor and will be leased to Ceres Organics for 12 years from its completion in the middle of next year.
"The first Ceres store was New Zealand's first organic store and opened in 1984," says Sam Smith, director of industrial sales and leasing at Jones Lang LaSalle, who concluded the lease with industrial broker Ben Pilley.
"Ceres is also the first BioGro certified organic warehouse and distributor of fresh organic produce in New Zealand," he says.
"It is now a premier certified organic distributor, employing over 100 people and obtained hazard analysis and critical control point food safety certification in 2009 together with receiving the first EcoSocial certification in New Zealand."
Smith says Ceres' portfolio of products has grown to include organic and bio-dynamic food lines including packaged retail goods, bulk ingredients and fresh produce; environmental cleaning and personal care products; health and beauty products; books and art materials.
"They distribute products to organic and health food stores, supermarkets, wholesalers, manufacturers and co-ops all across New Zealand."
The rapid growth of the company, due to an increasing demand for organic food goods and services during the past two decades, led Ceres to investigate potential options for further expansion but they were confronted with only a handful of options.
"It became evident a new distribution facility would need to meet strict requirements that complemented the company's culture and ecological and socially responsible attitudes," Smith says.
"Ceres required a distribution facility that would exceed existing industrial warehouse environmental standards in New Zealand."
Among the options showcased was a potential site for brownfield redevelopment across the road from Ceres' existing distribution facility, which had been mainly vacant for over a year after the departure of Fintech Finishing Services in 2010.
"The potential to build an environmentally friendly distribution facility with the highest green rating in New Zealand right across the road from their current site in Mt Wellington was a major drawcard.
"Because of this, 82 Carbine was quickly separated from any other potential options."
Simon Williams Architects have been contracted to combine the latest in sustainability design and concepts within the new build premises.
Director Simon Williams has been a driving force in cutting-edge industrial building design for the past 25 years. He has been instrumental in many of the leading design builds throughout Auckland, notably at Highbrook Business Park where he has completed nine projects.
Ceres has also made it clear they will only occupy the building with a built rating certified by the Green Building Council.
Its five green-star rating is a specified requirement under the deal to lease the new-build premises.
Green star is a comprehensive national, voluntary environmental rating scheme that evaluates the environmental attributes and performance of New Zealand's buildings.
Council chief executive Alex Cutler says Green Star is an internationally recognised benchmark that provides evidence a building has been designed to be prepared for the future.
"Green buildings provide improved working environments, result in higher productivity by staff, and reduced operating costs. They are a sensible choice for owners of long-term property assets as well as an excellent commercial choice.
"We're looking forward to seeing how this new industrial building will meet and exceed our green star best practice green building targets."
The Courier Post building in Highbrook is the only building in Auckland, and the first in New Zealand, to achieve a four green star industrial building rating.
The first industrial building in New Zealand to achieve a five green star industrial rating is the $43 million Air Force maintenance support squadron building, just opened at Ohakea. It has solar water heating, water recycling and lighting efficiencies.
If it is awarded a five-star green rating, 82 Carbine Rd will be the first distribution facility to achieve this.
"As such, the Ceres building will be a valuable addition to an established industrial precinct," Cutler says.
Pilley says Mt Wellington's significant redevelopment in recent years makes it a hot spot for industrial tenants looking to take advantage of the area's easy access to major arterial networks, distance to the city and airport and supporting amenities.
He believes the planned green-star building will top the list of brownfield redevelopment in Mt Wellington.
"Many 1980s and earlier industrial buildings are being redeveloped in order to compete with premier greenfield developments such as those in Highbrook Business Park.
"We have received a lot of inquiry from occupiers looking to establish a presence in the Mt Wellington precinct which is regarded as one of the premier established industrial precincts in Auckland, especially for service-based distribution centres and trade retail/showroom space.
"Carbine Rd is regarded as the Golden Mile for industrial companies in Mt Wellington, but there is a lack of suitable space for the needs of many modern industrial users and premium space that becomes available is highly contended for," he says.
"When tenants vacate older stock, more often than not the premises remain vacant for extended periods of time.
"Redevelopment is being favoured by owners in order to attract occupiers and maintain healthy rental levels upwards of $100 per square metre," he says.
"While we believe Ceres' five green star distribution facility will be the first of its kind in New Zealand, it won't be the last."By Colin Taylor Email Colin