Solid 1980s classic to ‘shine’ brighter

3:54 PM Friday November 30, 2018 Paul Charman

An artist’s impression of the planned redesign for the building’s plaza entrance way. Photo / Supplied

Following its return to New Zealand ownership, one of Auckland CBD’s 1980s office towers is to get a major makeover.

The 16-level Shine Lawyers building, which was completed in 1989, has been purchased by Bledisloe Property Group in a transaction negotiated by Bayleys executive director David Bayley and senior broker Andre Siegert.

The building stands upon on a 1005sq m corner site, with frontages to Federal, Swanson and Hobson Sts.

Bayley says the vendor was a UK-based investment company that had owned the property since 1990.

“While there has been a significant increase in the volume and value of commercial properties sold to offshore buyers this year, we have also been involved in a variety of transactions where longstanding overseas ownership has been transferred back into New Zealand hands,” Bayley says.

“It’s all part and parcel of being involved in a global commercial property market.”

Bledisloe Property Group is a privately owned company with a substantial portfolio of commercial and industrial investment and development property assets in New Zealand and Australia.

Siegert, who is involved in a new leasing campaign for the building with his Auckland colleague Brendan Graves, says Bledisloe’s initial focus will be on refurbishing and upgrading office floors now either vacant, or about to become so.

“The jewel is the 400sq m top floor of the building which offers panoramic city and harbour views,” Siegert says.

“Also available are Levels 1, 2 and 5 which can be leased as whole floors, or Bledisloe is willing to consider a two-tenancy split of about 260 and 140sq m for smaller occupants looking for high quality CBD office accommodation.

"Levels 1-3 would also suit a tenant looking for contiguous floors which are hard to find in this sought after part of the CBD at the moment.”

Siegert says parts of Levels 3 and 4 are available for occupation and other floors further up the building are also likely to come up for lease longer term.

He says a variety of factors led Bledisloe Property Group to acquire of the property. “Originally known as the Royal & Sun Alliance Building, it is recognised as one of the 1980s’ better quality office developments and was solidly built to high specifications for its time,” he says. “But while it's now somewhat dated internally, it is still a very sound, attractive looking building and with a vacancy rate of close to 30 per cent it offers an immediate add-value opportunity.

“The building also stands on a substantial podium, which has two levels of parking for about 53 cars in total.”

This equates to about one car park to every 100sq m of net lettable office accommodation, which is a better ratio than is now available in new buildings, says Siegert.

“Three street frontages and the large podium plaza entranceway provide plenty of natural light; there are unobstructed and protected views out to the Waitakere Ranges and east over Federal Square. Upper levels also have good city and harbour views.”

Graves says the new landlord intends to invest substantially in upgrading and modernising the building’s base services, including energy efficient lighting and improved air conditioning; with exposed building services also increasing the stud-height of floors. The building already has double glazing.

“The premium standard boutique office space should appeal to tenants in sectors such as financial services and medium sized legal, accountancy and business advisory firms; particularly those which like the idea of being able to occupy a whole, self-contained floor of around 400sq m,” Graves says.

There will also be a major renovation of the foyer to provide a more contemporary new look, with upgraded lifts and tenancy boards. Externally, there will be a comprehensive redesign of the substantial podium plaza entranceway to the building off Swanson and Federal Sts.

“A fire egress point on the corner of the two streets will be relocated and the concrete bunker-like structure that covers this will be removed. This will create a better connection with Federal Square, which will become the main point of public entry to the building,” says Graves.

New “green” walls will run along the side of the re-landscaped plaza area, which will incorporate a new food and beverage tenancy; customers will be drawn from building occupants plus passing pedestrians.

The lead architect for the redesign and refurbishment of the Shine Lawyers building is Monk McKenzie, with interior architect Rufus Knight also working on the project.

Australasian legal firm Shine Lawyers recently took over naming rights to the building, along with a lease over Level 12 which Brendan Graves negotiated.

Graves says ongoing rejuvenation of the area received a boost when Melbourne-based ICD Property announced its plans for a 45-level hotel and apartment building at 65 Federal St.