Work on new council site on hold

HANK SCHOUTEN
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2013

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Greater Wellington regional council's plan to rehouse its head office staff in a safer building has stalled because of the Mainzeal collapse.

Work on a major upgrade of Shed 39 to accommodate the council was halted when receivers were called in.

Mainzeal recently started work on the $3 million upgrade of the former wharf shed and the council was scheduled to move its staff into the building in May or June.

Council chief executive David Benham said he hoped the delay would not be too long.

Shed 39, formerly leased to TelstraClear, was at 60 per cent of the seismic code and Mainzeal had the contract to bring it fully up to code, Centreport property manager Nick Wareham said.

It started on the project early in the new year and was only about 5 per cent of the way through when the site was locked down by the receiver.

He said Centreport was waiting to hear back from the receivers on whether they planned to abandon the project or on options for restarting it.

The regional council decided to relocate after engineers found major flaws with its present headquarters, opposite the Michael Fowler Centre in Wakefield St.

The 10-storey block, built in the 1980s, was assessed as at only 30 per cent of new building standard and it could fail in a major or even moderate earthquake.

The council decided the estimated $32m cost of strengthening it was uneconomic.

Mr Benham said the council had not yet decided what to do with its old headquarters, which was now valued at just $5m.

The council has taken a six-year lease on Shed 39 with an option to bail out in three years, depending on the outcome of proposals to restructure Wellington's local government system.

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- The Dominion Post

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