Wellington convention center back on the cards

The car park opposite Te Papa between Cable and Wakefield Street, where it is being planned to develop a purpose built ...
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The car park opposite Te Papa between Cable and Wakefield Street, where it is being planned to develop a purpose built convention centre and five star hotel.

Planning for a purpose-built Wellington convention centre is underway again, with a new developer set to take on the project.

Wellington property development company Willis Bond & Co has secured the rights to the Cable St site opposite Te Papa and is considering the development, which would include a convention centre and hotel complex.

Willis Bond specialise in large scale, medium to high-end, property developments and investments in Auckland and Wellington.

A detailed investigation was now being carried out by Willis Bond and was expected to take about 10 months to complete.

In February, The Dominion Post reported Cable st was still the favoured location for a $100 million Hilton hotel and Convention Centre despite being sensationally axed by planned developer Mark Dunajtschik, who wanted to build it on the Interisland Wharf on Wellington's waterfront.

Dunajtschik had said the Cable St site was not viable for the 165-bed hotel and adjoining 2500-capacity conference centre.

The council initially backed his wharf proposal but later said if the hotel built on Cable St, then the project would not be led by Dunajtschik.

Wellington City Council had agreed to lease the Cable St-based convention centre from Dunajtschik for $4m a year, anticipating a yearly return of up to $2.5m from convention activity and events.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said it was encouraging that another well-known Wellington developer was now.

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Council's economic growth committee chairwoman, councillor Jo Coughlan, said Willis Bond was experienced at delivering successful developments including Chews Lane, Clyde Quay Wharf and One market Lane. Its interest in the project was encouraging.

The Council had included a new convention centre in its Draft 2015/25 Long Term Plan.

A council spokesman said if it was substantially different from the previous package already approved, then the matter would be referred back to the mayor and councillors for consideration and final approval.

Dunajtschik and Wills Bond managing director Mark McGuinness both declined to comment on Friday. Cable St land was owned by a company called Casata. Its director Andrew Wall also declined to comment.

 - Stuff

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