New high-rise tower breaks new ground

Work will start later this year on the first high-rise commercial tower to be built in Auckland in over a decade. 

Mansons TCLM has announced its intention to build a new 30-storey $675 million office, hotel and retail building on a 4258sq m block of land between Wyndham St, Albert St, Swanson St and Mills Lane in Auckland’s CBD. It will comprise 30 levels of office accommodation, a five-star, 125-room hotel and a variety of luxury brand shops at ground level. 

Mansons TCLM director Culum Manson says the complex, to be known as 1 Mills Lane, will establish a number of benchmarks for a New Zealand CBD office tower – it will be the greenest, being designed to a 6 Green Star rating and incorporate two “garden” floors, the highest at 198 metres, have the largest floor plates at approximately 1500sq m and the tallest floor-to-ceiling heights, with an internal stud of 3.2 metres. 

Mansons will start demolition work on the existing buildings on the property once longstanding tenant New Zealand Herald (NZME) has relocated in November to a nearby Mansons’ 5 Green Star office development nearing completion at 151 Victoria St. 

Mr Manson says the company has received demolition consent and is working to finalise resource consent by October. “This will enable us to complete the building by the end of 2018. There are a significant number of large CBD corporate leases due to expire toward the end of this decade and the building’s completion has been timed to coincide with what we believe will be a period of strong tenant take-up of quality high-rise premises.

“There has also been little CBD hotel development undertaken in Auckland in recent years and, with annual hotel occupancy rates in the city at record levels of over 80%, we believe there is a big opportunity in this sector of the market as well, particularly given the site is very well located, close to the proposed convention centre and the waterfront. We are already talking to five-star international hotel brands about managing this component of the development, which will be an added bonus for office tenants who have clients visiting Auckland and needing accommodation.”

Architect Patrick Clifford of Architectus has been appointed to design the building. It will incorporate two garden floors, for use by office tenants and their visitors – one in the middle of the building and the other on the rooftop, with wraparound views of the city, harbour and harbour bridge. The rooftop garden will be based on the Architectus design for the top level of its award-winning, 6 Green Star office development at 1 Bligh St in Sydney. 

Waterfront views for office floor tenants will also be maximised by locating core building services, such as lifts and the stairwell, on the southern side of the building. Mr Manson says this configuration will provide occupants with highly efficient floor plates and also make it easy to provide interconnecting stairways for businesses that occupy multiple floors, which have proved popular with tenants occupying contiguous levels in other Mansons’ developments. 

As has been the case with recent large scale CBD projects by Mansons TCLM, such as the Telecom (now Spark City) complex and neighbouring 151 Victoria St, a large public plaza area, to be known as Mills Square, is being incorporated into the development at ground level. There will also be pedestrian laneways linking the shops. Mr Manson says this will revitalise what is currently a “dingy” part of the CBD, with a three-level lobby for the office building and separate lobby for the hotel to be located in this area.

About 300 car parks will be located underground and Mr Manson says a further 1000 carparks will be offered to tenants within a two to five-minute walk.

Senior Bayleys leasing broker Paul Hain says 1 Mills Lane should generate considerable interest from both office and retail tenants, given the quality of the development and its strong location between the waterfront and the Federal St entertainment precinct.

“It’s also virtually right on the doorstep of one of the busiest parts of Queen Street. The corner of Queen and Shortland Sts is literally a 30-second walk via the Swanson laneway that runs off Mills Lane. It’s also in the favoured western part of the CBD, which has benefited from a significant migration of tenants in recent years because of its proximity to the waterfront and the Britomart and ferry public transport hubs. 

“The market has been hanging out for some time for new high-rise office options given the last wave of office tower development ended with the completion of the Lumley Centre in 2005 and it looks as though Mansons will have the advantage of being the first to complete with this building.” 

Mr Hain says there is no prime office accommodation currently available in the CBD for tenants wanting to lease more than a few hundred square metres and Mansons’ new building at 151 Victoria St is filling up quickly ahead of its completion in July of this year. He has been involved in the leasing of approximately half of the building, totalling 8300sq m, to NZME, and an agreement to lease the top floor is currently under negotiation. 

 

“This leaves only two floors totalling 6340sq m remaining, which will result in some of the many tenants looking at the building missing out,” he says. “Supply will remain extremely tight for the next three and a half years for businesses looking for trophy premises in the CBD.” 

Neil Prentice writes for Bayleys Real Estate

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