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Clyde Quay development work set to start

04 October 2011. Source: Fairfax NZ News
WBC News Clyde lane Perspective

Work is to start next month on the demolition of Wellington's Overseas Passenger Terminal so work can start on the showpiece Clyde Quay Wharf apartment development.

 

With confirmed sales contracts for 61 of the 76 luxury apartments and most of the detailed design work completed construction would be starting in November, Willis Bond Clyde Quay Wharf project director David McGuinness said.

"We're just going through our final planning for that start, construction drawings are completed and we'll be lodging building consents."

Work would start with demolition and wharf strengthening at the northern end of the 1960s vintage terminal. The area under the apartment complex, which will be styled on but much larger than the terminal, will be completely repiled with piles driven down as much as 20m on to rock.

The $100 million-$150 million project, which has been more than seven years in the planning, will take more than two years to finish.

McGuinness said construction was expected to be completed by late 2013 or early 2014.

There were issues around staging the project where some parts were completed and opened before the development was completed.

A requirement of the project was to ensure that boat owners in Chaffers Marina would still have access during the project and temporary shower and toilet facilities would be provided.

McGuinness said most of the 15 remaining apartments were priced between $1.3m and $2.8m but there were also four ranging up to $6m. The most expensive apartment, on the top  floor  at  the  northern  end of the development, which is understood to have been priced at close to $10m, has been sold to an undisclosed buyer.

McGuinness said 80 to 90 per cent of the apartments were bought by Wellington-based people and most intend to live there: "there's not a lot of speculators that I'm aware of so the type of buyer has been really pleasing for us".

"The main selling point has been the location, clearly, but most of the apartments have a unique east-west outlook with uninterrupted views over the water to Oriental Bay and the city."

 The development of the old wharf, which was potentially going to cost Wellington City Council  a lot of money to bring up to standard, was secured after Willis Bond acquired a 125-year leasehold title on land under the wharf.

Willis Bond's other major development project - the retrofitting of the John Chambers building (the old Rialto complex) on the corner of Cable and Wakefield streets - is nearing completion.

Managing director Mark McGuinness said a lot of work had gone into strengthening the building and it would look finished by the end of the year, although fitout would continue beyond then.

The major tenants, infrastructure investment company Infratil and Xero accounting, would move in in December and February. The building was all but fully tenanted, with just one 250sqm shop at the corner still available for lease.

As for the remainder of the block, which was bought last year off Donald Stott's Land Equity Group - which had planned a large apartment and hotel development on the site - McGuinness said they were still looking at what they would do with the site.

"We're still working up the options and it is too early to talk about the detail. But over time there will be a mix of office, retail and residential."

"It is consented up to 11storeys so when it does kick off we will be building it as per the consent."

"As for timing it's too early to say but we're absolutely working on getting the John Chambers building finished first," McGuinness said.