New Building Proposal for Kumutoto on Wellington Waterfront

26 November 2013

Wellington Waterfront Limited is seeking approval from Wellington City Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee on Wednesday 27 November for its selection of Willis Bond & Co as its preferred developer of Site 10 in the Kumutoto precinct, and to request it begin a process of formal public consultation on the concept designs and adjacent public space.

Artist impression - Kumutoto precinct.

Design proposal for Kumutoto precinct

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Willis Bond’s project was chosen after a rigorous selection and evaluation process that included not only assessment by Wellington Waterfront Ltd (WWL), Council officers, but also the Council’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and independent experts.

Design Concepts - Kumutoto Precinct (202KB PDF)

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said: “The examination of any new development on Wellington’s waterfront is important for our city; this area is fundamental to Wellington’s sense of place.

“It offers unique opportunities for activity and recreation arising from the harbour edge location, and at this northern end we also have the opportunity to complete the waterfront promenade, make the public spaces more attractive, and integrate this location into the CBD and business activities of our vibrant city.

“The proposed design is more inviting than the previous proposition on the site. It allows for more room on the promenade and it frames the heritage Eastbourne Ferry building, right next door, rather than obscuring it.

“I’ll be interested in the public’s response to this proposal.”

Ian Pike, CEO of WWL said today: “The Willis Bond proposal offers  an exemplary architectural response that is a unique landmark building that also complements the environment it sits within, and  provides an optimal blend of commercial, retail and publicly accessible spaces within Site 10.

“It includes a generously proportioned three storey high civic portico entry to the building and offers considerable public amenity including ground floor accessible space, covered pedestrian ways around and through the ground floor of the building and is complemented by high quality landscaped public space around the building,” Mr Pike said. 

The proposal includes a six level; ground floor plus 5 levels of office space, and a green roof.  It is designed to have many environmentally sustainable characteristics and incorporates international best practice seismic design features including base isolation.

“The building is an outstanding contemporary design by Athfield Architecture, delivered by the very experienced Willis Bond and their team.

“This proposal delivers the vision and meets the objectives of the Wellington Waterfront Framework, and presents a great opportunity to revitalise what is currently a bleak, uninviting and unfinished yet important gateway to and from the waterfront,” Ian Pike said.

Willis Bond is well  known for a number of significant commercial development projects in Wellington, including Chews Lane, Clyde Quay Wharf (the Overseas Passenger Terminal), and the redevelopment of the NZX Building, St John Building and Mac Brewery on the waterfront.

Mark McGuinness, Willis Bond Chief Executive, said: “We are pleased to have been successful in what was a very rigorous selection process and have the opportunity to continue working with WWL and the City to enhance the waterfront experience for Wellingtonians and deliver a building and public space that Wellingtonians can be proud of.”

Although a single building the design has a number of complementary components, spaces and functions overlapping with the adjacent landscape. Included in the design is a continuation of the Whitmore Plaza, a Creative Business Hub, A Harbour Wharf Link, a Working Gantry and a Quayside Colonnade which provides for a continuous sheltered public walkway from the Whitmore Street gates to opposite the railway station.

The overall height of the building, while slightly higher than the suggestion contained in the Environment Court decision, is regarded as generally being in scale with its neighbours.

Ian Pike said today once approval has been given, the next steps called for WWL to undertake a comprehensive process of public consultation on the Willis Bond preliminary concept design of the proposed building and public space beginning late January.

Following the analysis of information gained from the public consultation, the developed design, final commercial terms and agreements will be presented to Council for formal approval before the project seeks a notified resource consent.

Councillor Andy Foster, Chair of the Transport and Urban Design Committee, said today: “The preliminary design concepts are very exciting and will help us realise the full potential of this key waterfront precinct, and offers great recreational, cultural and employment opportunities for the city,” Cr Andy Foster said.