Major refurbishment and seismic upgrade of Saatchi & Saatchi building in Parnell nearing completion.
A seismic upgrade and refurbishment of one of Auckland's biggest industrial old buildings is nearing completion.
Scaffolding has now been dismantled from the front face of the Saatchi & Saatchi building at 125 The Strand, in Parnell, as work to regrout the distinctive orange bricks and paint exterior windows is finished.
But it will be some months before contractor Haydn & Rollett leaves the site.
Rob Mihaljevich, general manager of private family owner Strand Management, said the former woolstore had some of the largest floor areas in New Zealand when it was built in 1912 and it abuts a separate 1940 building, although the two buildings appear as one inside.
"The work is 90 per cent done. It's been a year [on site] but several years in the planning," Mihaljevich said from his ground-floor offices in the building.
"There are four main elements to this," he said.
"First two buildings - the original 1912 one and the 1940 building - were connected but under modern guidelines, you need a seismic gap. So we engineered a separate bracing system which distributed weight to the foundations for the 1940s building and disconnected the two.
"Second was foundation strengthening, going down about 2m around the outside of the building. Third, a new diaphragm of exposed steel has been installed connecting all the floors to the walls."
"Fourth, parapets along The Strand have been strengthened via the insertion of vertical steel reinforcing into new drilled cores. This has effectively tied the parapets into the building in conjunction with the diaphragm work, like a steel spine." He would not specify the amount spent, except to say it was more than $5 million but less than $10 million.
So how can owners afford such big bills? Often, they have no choice. Some tenants won't renew leases on buildings beneath the proposed 34 per cent of new building standard.
Some tenants will only renew leases on the condition of seismic upgrades.
Auckland commercial character space has demanded a rent premium in the past and Mihaljevich is hoping for more than $300/sq m annually.
Four elements were:
• Disconnect two buildings.
• Foundation strengthening (ongoing).
• Steel bracing links walls to floors.
• Roof-top parapets strengthened .