New development offers fresh choice

KASHKA TUNSTALL
Last updated 05:00 14/11/2012

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Move over Citygate and Project Grantham.

The redevelopment of the Federated Farmers site on Hamilton's London Street will offer a fresh choice of accommodation for office and retail property hunters.

The Waikato Federated Farmers Charitable Society owns a 7200 square metre site in London St.

It has signed city project development manager Mike Beattie to turn the largely empty space into a more vibrant, economic premises.

The property is home to just three activities - McElwain's Auction house, the five-floor Federated Farmers office building and a mostly vacant single-level dance studio at the back of the property where it meets the Hamilton city bus depot.

The rest of the extensive site is open car park space.

"It is pretty much under-utilised and we're looking for ways to intensify it," Beattie said.

"I've put together a master plan."

A multi-phased operation designed to reinvigorate the property is on the drawing board, but the first stage of the redevelopment, a four-level concept building offering retail and office tenancies, is close to kicking off, he said.

Designed by Hamilton-based architecture firm Chow Hill, the building is waiting on resource consent from Hamilton City Council and tenants to sign on before it starts construction. The concept design has been approved by the society and resource consent processes have been initiated with the Hamilton City Council.

NAI Harcourts is now marketing the building and looking for potential tenants.

"Our feeling is that it will be targeting a different market segment from Citygate, Victoria on the River and Project Grantham," NAI commercial managing director Mike Neale said. "It'll be a build[ing] more economic for some of the larger users, such as call centres and similar businesses."

Neale said one of the major benefits of the Federated Farmers site redevelopment is it will allow tenants to have some input into modifying aspects of the building to fit their needs.

The site also allows for additional building projects down the track.

"It's in the concept stage at the moment.

"It's all set to go but there needs to be a form of tenant precommitment before construction which enables the development team to work with those tenants for any specific requirements," Neale said.

The ground floor will have retail space of 628 sq m and four floors of office space each measure at least 1000 sq m.

The building plan has committed to meeting the newest design and earthquake standards and the design also has environmental sustainability in mind, with attention to air conditioning, lighting and building services.

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Naming rights for the building are still available. Neighbours include Federated Farmers, EQC (Earthquake Commission), Waikato District Health Board and AMI Insurance.

kashka.tunstall@waikatotimes.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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