Greater Wellington on the move

Greater Wellington Regional Council will be relocating from its earthquake prone premises in Wakefield Street.

The Council formally approved the shift at its meeting today, following more than a year’s work by senior management in assessing the seismic strength of the current building and looking at alternatives.

Council Chair Fran Wilde said that a comprehensive engineering assessment of the current building, which is owned by the Council, showed that it was only 30% of the current code for a building of its type.

“Estimates of the cost to bring the building to an acceptable level of the code are simply not economic and, given the uncertainties that exist around the future shape of governance for the region, we felt the most prudent option for staff, visitors and ratepayers was to move into leased accommodation for the time being. This was signalled in the recently approved Council Long Term Plan and additional funding provided to allow for a move from Wakefield Street.

“Council officers conducted a comprehensive search for suitable premises looking across Wellington City, the Hutt Valley and Porirua. The preferred option was Shed 39 (currently occupied by TelstraClear) at CentrePort. This building not only satisfied all our requirements but also had the added benefit that CentrePort is owned by the Council, meaning any lease money paid contributes to the Port’s results and its dividend to the Council.

“Securing a lease with CentrePort would be beneficial for the Council,” Fran Wilde said.

The Chief Financial Officer of Greater Wellington Regional Council, Bruce Simpson, said that final negotiations with CentrePort on detailed terms and conditions need to be undertaken and if these are successful the expected date for the move would be April / May next year. He said this allows time for Centre Port to carry out some minor strengthening work to the building and any required fit-out to be completed.

“This has been a significant issue for the Council and its staff, and staff have been kept informed of progress in relation to the Wakefield Street building throughout the process”, Mr Simpson said.