Moves under way for return to CBD

Work on new offices for public servants in central Christchurch will start in 2014 at the earliest, with the Government looking for short-term rental space to tide it over.

The Government has called for developers' proposals to permanently house 2500 staff due to return to the CBD. They have been asked to respond by May 28.

Up to 25,000 square metres of office space will be needed over several buildings, which could be new, refurbished or existing.

Details of the requirements for new premises run to more than 60 pages and include specifications on paint thickness, cleaners' cupboards and a need for all ceilings to be flat.

After Cabinet approves the chosen plans in September and October, negotiations will start and deals will be signed with developers in February.

The Government is also asking for short-term space to provide room as existing leases lapse. Office leases signed after the earthquakes start expiring this year. The offices could be "temporary office accommodation built on current sites", available for two to six years until permanent premises are ready, government papers say.

Office-leasing specialist Sally Ryan, of Colliers, said the long timeframe until new offices were built was no surprise.

"This is a huge amount of space that they need. There's a lot of information landlords have to gather before they can respond and then it will be a long process to tick all the boxes."

After the quakes, temporary leases were signed quickly , Ryan said. New, permanent leases would be keenly sought by developers.

The Dominion Post