Waikato Times to move into city centre

JAMIE SMALL
Last updated 08:51 04/07/2014
waikato times site
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ

INNER CITY NEWS: A new building to house the Times will rise on the site of this car park in central Hamilton.

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The Waikato Times will move to a brand new building in Hamilton's central business district next year.

The newspaper's existing building in Foreman Rd in Te Rapa was purpose-built in the late 1970s.

"Previous to that we did have offices in town, which is the ironic part," said Sean Stephens, commercial manager of Fairfax Media Waikato.

It was sold to Modern Transport in October 2013, but the newspaper will continue to lease it while the new building is constructed.

"We've all endured this place for a long time in all it's glory. But it's a really positive move."

The single level, 1050 square metre building will be on the outskirts of the city centre.

"We will be moving to a brand new building that will be on the corner of Anglesea and Rostrevor streets," said Stephens.

"In this day and age, it's a bit isolated for people to come and see us [at Foreman Rd]," he said.

"We want to create an environment that the public want to come to us."

The CBD site was occupied by Metro Motors car yard, which has moved to Te Rapa.

Fairfax operates 11 community papers in the Waikato as well as the Waikato Times and Fairfax New Zealand's national agriculture division.

The new building will be home to the daily newspaper, agriculture division, advertising division, administration and management staff, and will also serve as a hub for the community papers.

Stephens said construction is scheduled to begin in September this year, and if everything goes to plan the business will move in September 2015.

The Waikato Times' printing press will not be making the move.

There is a proposal currently on the table for APN New Zealand to print Fairfax's upper North Island papers.

He said a decision will be made on that proposal next week.

"If that proceeds, there will be a transition between August and October this year, which means that will move before the rest of the business."

Stephens said the new building was likely to be the best-looking building in the Fairfax group, and will better portray the company's image as a "leading-edge multimedia company".

"This is a statement from the company, too, that we are investing in the Waikato business. We have a very exciting and long-term future in this business and this region," he said.

"It's good to be able to support the CBD as well."

With the move to the new building, the business will change to an "activity-based work environment", an arrangement where employees do not have assigned desks, but rather log in to whichever is free for their shift.

Stephens said everything in the building will be new, from the furniture to the technology.

"We've obviously got a whole lot of stuff that we need to get rid of."

Fairfax operations in Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington have already changed to activity-based working, and Stephens said the Waikato Times could learn from their transitions.

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