NZX listed Asset Plus has rekindled $350 million plans to expand an Auckland CBD office block by adding extra levels on the heritage-listed structure.
Despite the lockdown and a rising tend of people working from home, the business has moved confidently to restart a project shelved during the lockdown last year but which could create an asset valued on completion of up to $350m.
Mark Francis, managing director of Augusta Funds Management which manages Asset Plus, said plans for the office block at 35 Graham St above Fanshawe St were now back on.
Other Auckland businesses are moving away from commercial office space commitments. For example, Vodafone said just this week it wanted to lease around half its Auckland and Christchurch offices.
Working from home was more prevalent overseas, with a survey by Gartner showing 82 per cent of respondents intend to permit remote working some of the time as employees return to the workplace and 47 per cent said they intended to allow employees to work remotely full-time, Vodafone said.
But the Financial Times has reported how a survey showed people's career prospects were damaged by working from home and those in the office did far better.
Mansons TCLM is building a Newmarket nine-level office block on-spec, without any tenant pre-commitment because Culum Manson said inquiry levels for 6 star rates offices were extremely strong.
Last February, Asset Plus said it would create around $220m of commercial real estate assets, developing one new building and expanding another. The $120m new-build Albany project begun a few weeks for new office block for Auckland Council.
And now work on what was the council's service centre offices at 35 Graham St is due to begin soon.
Resource consent has been granted for the company to add three new levels on the existing office building, taking to from 12,900sq m to 25,800sq m.
The changes were designed by Woods Bagot.
The resource consent said the new building had been designed to cantilever over the category B listed BJ Ball building in a series of steps. That historic building has a distinctive mural on its wall which the council noted Asset Plus would retain.
The building straddles the end of Harding St and Graham St, opposite BDO House at 2 Graham St which Augusta syndicated in an offering to investors once it was completed in 2015 and leased to a range of tenants.
Francis said there was strong demand for such space. The western flank of the CBD had developed in recent yers and was now home to several 'workhouse' businesses like Fonterra and Air New Zealand.
The redeveloment would bring cafes and eateries to the building's lower areas and decks off offices above, Francis said.
Pedestrianising Queen St might mean more business move out of the core CBD area and into areas like that western fringe, he predicted.
Sam Gallaugher, Colliers International's commercial leasing director, said 2degrees, Meredith Connell and Fidelity Life have leased space in Mansons TCLM's new Fanshawe St project, now being finished.
Kiwibank, Genesis and Trade Me had also moved into the area, he said.