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Saturday, 25 November 2017 08:26 pm

Tenant already lining up for proposed waterfront building

Nov 3rd, 2017 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Front Page Layout, Lead Story, News

Proposed building at site 9 on the Wellington waterfront

High quality Wellington office space is in such short supply that the proposed site 9 building on the Waterfront already has possible tenants lining up.

Commercial leasing agent Steve Maitland says there is demand and no supply.

“The market is tighter than it’s ever been. .1% vacancy,” says Maitland, leasing agent at Colliers International Wellington.

“That’s why site 9 is being strongly mooted and I know a tenant who is prepared to lease at least half of it if it goes ahead,” Maitland says.

The site 9 plans backed by Wellington City Council this week will provide four storeys of high quality (A-grade) office space into a market with few options.

Two A-grade office buildings are already under construction close to site 9, with 20 Customhouse Quay, a 14 storey building being built directly across the road.

Maitland says it won’t be enough to meet demands.

“The two being constructed at the moment will have less than 400 square metres available by the end of this year. Anyone with over a hundred staff can’t get into top end offices in Wellington.”

“Corporate tenants are getting a bit smaller, are wanting to get more efficient, so they are willing to pay a bit more rent to get a better quality building. Particularly one of better seismic quality.”

Seismic quality is choking Wellington office leasing, with tenants hesitant to move into buildings without high New Building Standard (NBS) ratings.

Site 9 is planned to be base isolated, meaning it will have a high NBS rating, potentially above 100% of the NBS.

“Every tenant has a different threshold, from a seismic point of view.

“For some tenants it’s 70%, for some it’s 80% and for some it’s 100%. They won’t assess any options under their threshold,” says Maitland.

“It’s required by the staff, because they’ll kick up a fuss if they don’t feel safe.”

Buildings rated above 34% NBS are not considered to be earthquake prone, but many corporate tenants want high ratings for employee safety and to ensure they can return to work promptly after a large earthquake.

Wellington City Council this week approved Site 9 and a 125-year lease with Willis Bond, which is expected to take its plans to the Environment Court by the end of the year.

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