The last big office floor available for occupation in Auckland's central business district has gone with New Zealand's largest insurance broker, Crombie Lockwood, leasing two-thirds of the huge 3811sq m top floor of the former ACP building on the corner of Beaumont St and Fanshawe St in Westhaven.
Crombie Lockwood will begin relocating staff to the building from two sites in Mt Eden next week, with full occupation of the 2500sq m of leased space to be completed by March. The company has also taken up the naming rights that came with occupation of the Fanshawe St end of Level 4 of the building.
The floor became available when New Zealand's largest magazine publisher, Bauer Media (formerly ACP NZ) relocated to the City Works Depot site on Nelson St in August.
Leasing agent Paul Hain of Bayleys Real Estate, which has the master agency on the Prism Properties-owned building at 100 Beaumont St, says Crombie Lockwood will take an initial nine-year lease with a six-year right of renewal, that will encompass 80 covered carparks on Level 2.
"The company wasn't actively looking for office space but when it became aware the floor was available, and of the big brand profile it could offer their business, they decided it represented a good opportunity to consolidate their Mt Eden operations into the CBD," Hain says.
"Crombie Lockwood's lease includes the use of a 'super sign' on the western side of the building plus a smaller sign on one of the roof towers.
"Both signs have massive exposure to the huge number of vehicles travelling along State Highway 1, and can't be missed entering Fanshawe St or taking the motorway fly-over."
The Crombie Lockwood Group was founded in 1978 when Colin Crombie started the insurance brokerage with a single office in Napier, before being joined in 1983 by current chairman Steve Lockwood, who opened an office in Palmerston North. It is now New Zealand's largest insurance broker, offering a full range of insurance services in 18 cities and towns across the country.
In 2006 Crombie Lockwood became part of Wesfarmers, a giant conglomerate headquartered in Australia with annual operating revenue of more than A$50 billion ($55 billion).
Over the past four years Crombie Lockwood has trebled in size from 290 to 800 staff, acquiring 11 other insurance businesses.
The Beaumont St premises will enable it to expand its Auckland visibility and operations, Hain says. The company will retain its existing central CBD presence on two floors of the Robt Jones Holdings-owned Crombie Lockwood Tower at 191 Queen St.
Hain says Crombie Lockwood will be using some of the existing fit-out and office furnishings, including work stations, on Level 4 of 100 Beaumont St. These will also be available to a tenant taking the remaining 1300sq m available on the floor.
The 100 Beaumont St building encompasses almost an entire city block between Fanshawe St and Westhaven Drive. The building's long, rectangular floor plates provide for efficient use of space, with minimal columns and core intrusions, and high levels of natural light on all sides.
Features of the Jasmax-designed building include raised computer floors, stud heights of up to 4m and feature ceilings, with sound-proofing for a high level of acoustic performance. The building's seismic rating is one of the highest in the CBD, at more than of 150 per cent of the New Building Standard.
NZX-listed Opus International has occupied Level 3 of the building since its completion in 2002, and this year renewed its lease for a further nine years, also taking some additional space previously occupied by Bauer Media on this floor.
Hain, who was also involved in the renegotiation of this lease, says a significant attraction for Opus, a consultancy for infrastructure and construction, is the location at the gateway to the Wynyard Quarter.
"This is where much of the future development of the CBD will take place, with a relocation to the area already under way by a number of large corporate tenants such as Air New Zealand and ASB."
It has been an active year for the corporate leasing market: "There has been a major turnaround in the office leasing market over the last year or so, with big companies in particular realising that accommodation options for tenants wanting significant amounts of space were rapidly diminishing."
Other substantial leases that Hain has been involved with this year include Watercare Services' leasing of 7000sq m of space for 12 years in a recently completed building at 73 Remuera Rd, Newmarket; the New Zealand Lotteries Commission committing to 1938sq m in the same building on a nine-year lease; Lion New Zealand's occupation of 5139sq m of office space on a 10-year lease in the new GHD building in Napier St, Freeman's Bay; and Oracle NZ's leasing of 1700sq m on the top floor of 162 Victoria St West for nine years.