Key Points:

Westfield Albany, one of the newest shopping centres opened in Auckland, won the Property Council's top award at the weekend as an outstanding real estate development.

Judges said the shopping centre was a new generation of its type and had a good mix of leisure and entertainment.

"This greenfield development gave the Westfield team the opportunity to design and develop the centre from the ground up," the council said. "The emphasis on public spaces, its broad choice of places to eat and drink and its family-friendly play areas are designed to provide a focal point for the whole Albany community and beyond."

Justin Lynch, Westfield NZ director, said he was proud to get the award. He thanked people who had worked hard to achieve an outstanding result and also paid tribute to the council and consultants Rider Levett Bucknall for sponsoring the awards.

Connal Townsend, council chief executive, said all the buildings were significant. Westfield Albany was a remarkable development completed on time and under budget, he said.

The commercial building award and the green building award went to the Meridian Building in Wellington. The new Sovereign Building at Smales Farm Technology Office Park on the North Shore won a merit in this category. Franklin: The Centre at Pukekohe took the top education and arts building award.

Queenstown International Airport won an infrastructure building award and Palmerston North's Hopkirk Research Institute building took the top community services prize.

Selwyn District Council's new headquarters in Canterbury won the top award for a special-purpose community service building. Merit awards went to the new Spring Hill prison and Auckland's St Patrick's Cathedral.

Fletcher Construction Interiors, general contractor for the restoration project, nominated the cathedral.

Monsignor Bernard Kiely, the cathedral administrator, praised those involved in the $12.8 million job.

"This award is a wonderful acknowledgment of the high quality of design and construction work done conserving and restoring St Patrick's and the careful management of costs and scheduling," he said.

Gregory Shanahan, chairman of the St Patrick's Cathedral Heritage Foundation, said many people had made the work possible. "The award is a tribute to the many generous community trusts, Government organisations, families and individuals that continue to make donations towards the cost of the project."

Kevin Sherlock, cathedral manager, said it was wonderful to have a 120-year-old heritage building recognised among the mainly new buildings which got awards this year.

The Talbot Park community renewal project in Glenn Innes by Housing New Zealand won an urban design prize. Housing Minister Maryan Street said the state housing area had a high crime rate and a 50 per cent tenant turnover before the project. But tenant movement had fallen to an annual 5 per cent afterwards.

Tourism and leisure building category prizes were awarded to Te Puia - a Maori culture and geothermal visitor attraction in Rotorua - and to The Westin Hotel at Auckland's Lighter Quay.

* A new building's return on investment.
* Its efficiency of operation.
* Levels of owner / tenant satisfaction.
* Obstacles overcome in development.
* Quality of design and construction.