Tower block planned for High St
Plans for the former BNZ building in High St, Lower Hutt, to be developed into a nine-storey block of 64 residential units has been put to council.
Hutt City Council chief executive Tony Stallinger last week sent councillors a memo detaling plans for the old BNZ site in High St.
"A resource consent application has recently been received for a nine-storey building with 64 residential units fronting Dudley St, and for additions and alterations to an existing building on High St to provide for either 45 visitor accommodation units or 45 residential units."
Speaking from San Francisco recently, developer Ramin Sarin confirmed he was behind the proposal. He purchased the building seven years ago and says council's confirmation of the new events centre was behind his decision to go ahead.
The council has asked for more information but he is confident his development is viable.
There are no serviced apartments in Lower Hutt and once the events centre opens, he believes there will be plenty of demand for accommodation.
His company owns 1200 serviced departments in Auckland, significant investments in Rotorua, a golf resort in Australia and hotels in America.
Sarin is aware of plans by developer Kevin Melville to build apartments in the old Post Office building and he says the two projects will complement each other nicely.
Construction will take 15 to 18 months and will cost about $25 million.
Mayor Ray Wallace was delighted to hear Sarin is responding to the decision to invest in the events centre.
"It is a vindication, absolutely, it is great news. That is exactly what we were expecting. By creating the right conditions, we were always confident we would get developers' interest up."
Wallace says he is talking to another developer about a major project and he believes the High St project will be the first of many.
Apartments will create much needed vibrancy in the central city and encourage bars and restaurants to open. Long standing real estate agent Murray Rodgers says he has been aware of the project for some time. Sarin has a good track record and the apartments will be of a good quality, he says.
City development chair David Bassett also welcomed the development.
He said the developer's decision should be taken in the wider context of what the council is doing.
As well as the events centre, the council is investing in Riddiford Gardens, Huia Pool and the Hutt Rec. It is also committed to a range of financial incentives to encourage growth and he says developers are increasingly expressing confidence.