Heritage site gets top treatment

By Colin Taylor

Some modern touches won't interfere with intrinsic values.

Artist's impression of the refurbished Kauri Timber Building at 104 Fanshawe St, Auckland.
Artist's impression of the refurbished Kauri Timber Building at 104 Fanshawe St, Auckland.

A new tenant is moving into one of Auckland's best-known heritage buildings, one of only three remaining on the Freeman's Bay shoreline adjacent to the Viaduct Harbour.

Below the Line, a leading integrated marketing agency, will be taking up tenancy within the Kauri Timber Building at 104 Fanshawe St, which is being restored and redeveloped by Kauri Timber Building.

The deal, which will see Below the Line move into level one later this year, was negotiated by James Thorburn and Nick Theyers, commercial brokers for Jones Lang LaSalle.

"We are finding that companies, particularly those in the creative industry, are increasingly looking for more bespoke, individual working environments to complement their company culture," Thorburn says. "Restoration projects in Auckland like the Imperial Buildings, the City Works Depot and now the Kauri Timber Building are proving popular with the likes of Bauer Media, Y&R, JWT and now Below the Line. Once completed, this beautifully restored building will provide truly outstanding office space."

Thorburn says the Kauri Timber Building was chosen by the developer because of its location, with big firms moving to the northwest of the city which is fast becoming a main centre of Auckland business.

"It also has excellent development potential to modernise and extend its historic structure to meet today's stringent building code and office requirements," Thorburn says.

Theyers said a big challenge in sealing the deal was that Below the Line's existing lease expired before the scheduled completion of the redevelopment of the Kauri Timber Building. "However, working in conjunction with Kauri Timber Building Ltd, we managed to source temporary character space in Victoria Park Markets."

The four-storey brick Kauri Timber Building was the head office of some of the most important timber companies in the country, including the Auckland Timber Company (1881-1888), the Kauri Timber Company (1888-1944) and Butler Brothers (early 1900s).

The building was designed in Italianate style, with four bays facing the street. Each bay contains large arched windows on the upper levels and at ground level, with offset doors and large shop windows.

Bob Faram, principal owner of Below the Line, says the building's character and heritage fits well with the agency's culture and values. "We wanted something that was contemporary but with character and the Kauri Timber Building fitted this brief perfectly."

Greer Stephens, developer of the Kauri Timber Building, says the building has been upgraded to fully meet the earthquake and building code.

"This intervention will be sympathetic and delicately inserted into a lovingly restored existing building fabric," Stephens says.

"On the neighbouring site, we are introducing a modern contemporary building designed by leading New Zealand architects Fearon Hay, with an elegantly placed single circular connection to link the two contrasting eras of architecture.

"The new building's planned facade evokes the history of the adjacent bays through a textural and semi-transparent modern fascia depicting the hollowed-out spaces where kauri trees and logs once lay at the foot of the mill."

Stephens says the Kauri Timber Building is dedicated to providing a mix of heritage and modern spaces, tailor-designed to meet modern tenant requirements.

"We have successfully worked with Jones Lang LaSalle to secure our first tenant to the newly renovated building with Below the Line sharing our vision of the building. They were quick to engage with Kauri Timber Building at an early stage which enabled us to tailor the restoration of their space to their specific requirements. We look forward to Below the Line occupying the building and being part of its new future."

- NZ Herald

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