The Dominion Post to move location

Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013
dominion post earthquake
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

SHAKEN OUT: The Dominion Post will leave its Boulcott St offices next year due to earthquake risk. 

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Wellington

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The Dominion Post will move out of its Boulcott St building after it was declared a quake risk.

Staff will remain in the building until new offices have been found for the Fairfax Media-owned newspaper, the dompost.co.nz and Stuff websites and The Wellingtonian weekly paper.

The building will then be sold.

In November, engineers Spiire, which had previously estimated the building's quake strength at 70 to 90 per cent of the new building standard, reassessed it at less than 30 per cent.

Fairfax central region general manager Gerard Watt said that a peer review of Spiire's work by engineers Beca found the building was only 20-30 per cent of code requirements.

Specific issues were columns under a mezzanine on the fifth floor, shear walls that would not take the force of a quake, and exterior brickwork.

A search for new offices had begun. "We haven't got a definitive time of when staff will be leaving," Mr Watt said.

"We're in the market at the moment and looking at a number of options [for new offices].

"It will be a managed and controlled move. We don't have to evacuate the building and leave immediately."

The paper would maintain a presence in the Wellington CBD for editorial and advertising departments, but other staff could be moved to regional offices.

"We have staff in Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Porirua and the printing site in Petone . . . so as we go through this it would be silly not to look at the opportunity to house staff in those buildings."

Spiire had recommended installing steel braces to strengthen 40 Boulcott St, but no estimate of cost was provided.

Under quake-prone building laws, Fairfax will be given 15 years to strengthen it to at least 67 per cent of the new building standard or to demolish the building.

Mr Watt said Fairfax would investigate whether to sell the building as is, with the strengthening to be done by a new owner, or strengthen and then sell.

Newspapers have been based at the site since 1938, when The Evening Post extended its Willis St headquarters back on to Boulcott St.

Since then, several buildings have occupied the site.

The present five-storey building was completed in 1987.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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