Manson TCLM Ltd, formerly Manson Developments, is in the process of building its first "green rated" building - on the corner of Beach Rd and Tangihua St at Quay Park in downtown Auckland near the old railway station and the 12,000 seat Vector Arena.
While the new 7-floor building is set for completion in March next year valued at $90 million, the entire complex already been fully tenanted as the flagship headquarters for GE Money which has leased all the 13,500 square metres of net lettable area within a total building area of 14,100 sq m for 12 years.
The remaining 600 sq m of ground floor space will comprise a mail centre, gymnasium, retail store, cafe and childcare centre for the use of GE Money employees and affiliate staff.
GE Money, which is making its presence felt here with its "GE Money Genie" television advertisements, entered the New Zealand market in 2002 although other GE affiliates had operated here for decades.
The company is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, and is a business unit of the General Electric Company - better known for more tangible products like jet aircraft engines, power generators, turbines and transformers.
The company traces its beginnings to Thomas Edison, who invented the electric light bulb and phonograph, and who established the Edison Electric Light Company in 1878. In 1892 Edison Electric merged with the Thomson-Houston Electric Company to create the General Electric Company. Today GE is the only company listed on the Dow Jones index that was on the original index in 1896.
"This new building is not just about GE Money, but it's seen as being representative of the corporation's pursuit of eco-friendly customer outcomes globally," says managing director Greg White.
In May 2005 the GE corporation launched its "ecomagination "commitment which is designed "to combine the strengths of GE's environmentally advanced technologies and the collective imagination of our employees worldwide, to create solutions that are also economically advantageous".
White says the direction to Manson TCLM to construct a green building came from GE Money in harmony with the parent GE's "ecomagination" commitment - which fits in nicely with New Zealand's pursuit of a clean, green image.
GE has said it will double research investment into cleaner technologies from US$700 million (NZ$998 million) to US$1.5 billion by 2010 and would "continue to add to the US$10 billion in products and services we already offer that provide significant environmental performance advantages to our customers". The corporation also set a goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and set an energy efficiency improvement goal of 30 per cent by the end of 2012 measuring against a 2004 baseline.
Culum Manson, commercial manager of Manson TCLM says the new building will incorporate the latest green technology and building innovation "to a minimum 4 green star rating".
"However, BECA as consulting engineers will be working with GE Money and ourselves to increase this rating. For example we are looking at the installation of solar panels on the roof to generate power that will move to follow the solar path like sunflowers".
Manson says the building is being specifically designed for a user-
friendly working environment including 2000 sq m floor plates to offer maximum flexibility in office layout and a 3m floor to ceiling height to increase the distribution of natural light.
"In keeping with its green image and the desires of the tenant, the building will also be environmentally friendly and very energy efficient," Manson says. "High speed elevators will be installed to minimise waiting times and a goods lift will serve all the floors. A backup power generation system will ensure the building is 100 per cent occupiable in the event of a power outage."
White says from a staff viewpoint it's going to be a much better working environment. "This will pull our 800 staff together from three different buildings in Auckland at Customs Street West in the Viaduct, in Hobson Street and in Federal Street.
"The building will also house some other GE businesses, which will make things much easier for us in respect of services like telephony, IT and eliminating difficulties that clearly come from having to communicate with each other from three different locations.
"Very importantly it will give us the potential to grow further following recent acquisitions and the building will give us a singular identity in Auckland which can only help with the promotion of the GE Money brand."
White says the signing of a 12-year lease with Manson for the new building "signals our long-term commitment to the New Zealand market".
The complex will include two basement levels of car parking with direct lift access for added security. Its location ensures immediate access for staff to both the State Highway 1 and northwestern motorway systems via the port's motorway extension. It is also close to the Britomart bus and rail transport centre and Downtown Auckland shopping facilities.
Recent projects undertaken by the independent family-owned Manson Developments include the 28-level Lumley Centre on Shortland St and Fort St, which sold last year to Deutsche Bank for $113 million; the Millennium Phase 2 building on Great South Rd that sold to Macquarie Goodman for $56 million and Ascot Office Park which was sold for $45 million.
Manson currently have 30,000 sq m of office space under construction in Auckland.