Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

TVNZ renovation a 'game-changer'

Sale of inner-city land for SkyCity convention centre sparks new and innovative upgrade to company's HQ.

TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick says the refurbishment of TVNZ headquarters will allow the integration of new technology into the "pre-internet" building. Photo / Sarah Ivey
TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick says the refurbishment of TVNZ headquarters will allow the integration of new technology into the "pre-internet" building. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The development of SkyCity Entertainment Group's controversial $402 million international convention centre is drawing closer.

A huge refurbishment of state-owned TVNZ's headquarters at 100 Victoria St West was sparked by the sale of land and buildings for the new convention centre. That centre will sprawl across almost the entire block apart from the TVNZ premises and a historic hotel at the other end of the site.

TVNZ issued a statement saying SkyCity's purchase of its properties "has triggered the opportunity to consolidate its Auckland staff into one building and redesign its central Auckland facility into an open, flexible workspace, transforming business culture in tandem with technology".

Spokeswoman Megan Richards said about 480 staff had left the building between Hobson St, Nelson St and Victoria St.

The TVNZ refurbishment will take two years and has disappointed staff because it will bring a creche closure.

Construction fences were erected around the perimeter some weeks ago as the huge job got into full swing.

Richards said staff who had to leave went to an office building in the four-building Telecom campus on Victoria St. They moved around the beginning of the year.

But around 250 staff are staying in the TV headquarters for the duration of the job.

"Those staying are mostly news, current affairs staff and production services people," Richards said.

"The refurbishment is in its very early stages. Quite a lot of work is being done on repairs to the exterior and prepping the interior before the major refurbishment work begins. Educare, our in-house child care facility, is still operating, but the decision has been made to close it at the end of this year when the major construction work begins in that wing of the building and makes it an unsuitable site for children.

"This was a reluctant decision because having Educare has created a very family friendly feeling about the place, but we would have had to rebuild it in a new location to comply with regulations and with a gap of a year between closure and reopening of the refurbished building all the parents will have found alternative care anyway."

TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick. Photo / Richard Robinson
TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick. Photo / Richard Robinson

Around 25 families will be affected by the loss of the creche, she said.

TVNZ hadn't released a budget figure as the company had "multiple commercial negotiations on the boil", she said. "However, the work will be paid for by a combination of funds from the sale of our buildings and dividend relief."

TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick said the redesign and refurbishment of the primary building would create the extra space required to accommodate people who worked in the buildings SkyCity bought. He welcomed the changes.

"We are currently in a pre-internet building with the limitations typical of office designs of that age, and we were facing the need for significant repair and maintenance work before very long," he said. "The decision to invest heavily in upgrading our online technology had already been made. So to have the opportunity to integrate the new technology into a purpose-designed new workspace will be a game-changer for us."

TVNZ agreed to the sale after reaching agreement with shareholding ministers Bill English and Craig Foss to forgo dividends net of the sale proceeds, and allow the cash to be spent on the refurbishment.

TVNZ sales to SkyCity

*93 Hobson St sold early July, 2013.
*85-91 Hobson St sold September 2013.
*$10.6 million received in total.

[Source: TVNZ]

- NZ Herald

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