Council development arm talks up tower’s potential in call for expressions of interest.

Once it was Auckland's tallest office building. Soon it could be sold or leased long-term and converted into dozens of apartments or a hotel.

Auckland Council's Panuku Development Auckland has called for developers to lodge expressions of interest for the Civic Administration Building, the seat of local government for almost half a century.

The tall, slender block next to the Aotea Centre on Aotea Square is described as having "a significant development potential".

Council staff have vacated the block for the ex-ASB tower on Albert St, so new uses are being sought and Panuku has released a 48-page document showing the 22-level block's potential.

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The document does not speculate how many apartments could be developed there, but if 50sq m units were developed, more than 150 could fit, subject to planning rules and resource consent.

Asbestos removal could cost up to $12 million and some seismic work was needed, the document said. "The lower ground floor theatrette provides a link with the performing arts quarter, the 17th-floor cafeteria and rooftop deck provide interesting and unique opportunities in the context of a residential or hotel concept and the natural light and mixed mode ventilation are consistent with modern green-star office principles.

The height of the building, which exceeds current planning controls, also provides for expansive views of the city from upper levels."

An artist's idea of Aotea Square development.
An artist's idea of Aotea Square development.

The council's long-term plan identified about $100 million for upgrading of the Aotea Centre, so any work on the Civic Administration Building should take account of Aotea Quarter plans, the document said. At 8479sq m, the building has almost a hectare of floor space but its average floor plates are small compared with new blocks, at only 453sq m.

"The spectacular views and natural daylight present strong residential potential," the document said.

Last year, JLL consultant Sarah Dominey and national research director Justin Kean investigated options and said the block could be suitable for continued office use, a hotel, residential conversion, or retail, leisure, arts or education.

John Schellekens and John Holmes of CBRE are handling the expressions of interest process, which closes on September 30.

Civic Administration Building

1955: Designed by Tibor Donner.
1966: Auckland's tallest building completed (22 levels).
1989: First major asbestos removal exercise.
2014: Property consultants JLL appointed to investigate building's future options.
July 2015: Auckland Council decides to seek development proposals.
September 30, 2015: Expressions of interest process closes.
October 2016: Development agreement due to be signed between council's Panuku Development Auckland and a developer.

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