The Auckland Council plans to buy new upmarket headquarters so it can quit a civic high-rise block tentatively earmarked for demolition.

The council has entered private negotiations to buy the ASB Bank Centre, valued by an Australian institutional fund at $112 million, substantially upgrading it for its staff and housing many of them under one roof.

Plans are being made to shift hundreds of staff into the 31-level Albert St tower but no deal has yet been finalised or announced.

A spokeswoman said this week that would come soon.


"Auckland Council has been working through options to identify how best to secure a large, good-quality CBD office building into which it can relocate the majority of its city-based employees over the next year or two," she said.

"We hope to be able to give more detail on our preferred option in the next fortnight."

The asbestos-ridden 19-level Civic Building alongside Aotea Square could be demolished because it is well below building code standards, deemed an earthquake risk, too expensive to retrofit and too small.

Several sites were examined but none except the ASB building were large enough, or close enough to the Town Hall.

The council's property manager for acquisitions and disposals, Clive Fuhr said yesterday that he could not discuss the Civic or ASB buildings.

But another official said no firm decision had been made on the deal and it would take time to work out the Civic Building's future because the structure had so many problems.

Civic Building, 1 Greys Ave, beside Aotea Centre.
19 levels.
Has leak problems, is not up to code, is too small and needs a new facade.

ASB Bank Centre, 135 Albert St.
Valued at $112 million, owned by Brookfield Multiplex
31 levels with extensive carparking.