Opus plans long-awaited move to Petone Esplanade complex

20:40, Feb 22 2013

Engineering consultancy Opus is moving its laboratories from Gracefield to Petone.

It is shifting out of World War II warehouses, where the laboratories were set up 50 years ago by the former Ministry of Works, and moving to the former Civil Aviation Authority building near the Te Puni Mail Centre in Petone.

Opus Central Laboratories manager Peter Benfell said they would be shifting to their new premises in November.

The property at 20 Hutt Rd also has a frontage on Petone Esplanade.

The laboratories, which employ about 50 staff, will be taking about 3300 square metres of office, training, lab and workshop space for its wind tunnel and specialist bitumen, concrete and soil labs.

It is understood several million dollars will be spent converting the property with the building owner upgrading the office accommodation and Opus commissioning work to put its labs into the warehouse space now leased to Carlton Party Hire.


Benfell said the old base at Gracefield was spread around three old buildings, two of which were built for the US military in World War II.

The shift would provide better facilities and it would be more efficient to have everyone in one big building.

The new premises were also more convenient for clients and staff because it was just off State Highway 2 and close to Petone Railway Station.

Benfell said the laboratories were also a training centre for people doing courses on water treatment, swimming pools and wastewater and it recently secured a Ministry for the Environment contract to provide courses for commissioners employed to do resource consent hearings.

Opus began looking for new premises last year and looked at about 30 properties before settling on the new base, said Benfell.

Jones Lang LaSalle national leasing director Steve Rodgers said the property, owned by the Secil Family Trust, had been vacant since the Civil Aviation Authority moved out about 18 months ago.

It was an excellent fit for the laboratories operation as it provided a building with flexible uses, a good location and good seismic performance, said Rodgers.

Opus is owned by Kinta Kellas of Malaysia.

The Dominion Post