Wellington Scoop

No resource consent, but new waterfront building is now leasing


Questions are being asked about Willis Bond’s promotion of leases for a big new building on Site 9 on the waterfront – because the building has not yet been approved by the Environment Court.

The five-storey building was advertised in the DomPost on Wednesday.

The following day, responding to a question, the Environment Court confirmed that no decision on the building had yet been made. The court last month considered a direct referral application from Willis Bond for a resource consent for the building. The case was heard by Judge Brian Dwyer and two commissioners.

A decision is not expected till next month.

Willis Bond is also promoting the new building on its website, where the company confidently states it is due for completion in 2021. In spite of not having resource consent, it says the building is leasing now.

The building, on public land, became controversial when it was first announced in 2017, because there was no plan for why it was needed.

A month later, there was criticism that the height of the proposed building exceeded limits set by the Environment Court in 2012.

At the end of 2017, the council met in a closed session to consider approving Willis Bond’s building plan. Having voted to approve it, the council did not reveal any details of the deal, with Diane Calvert and Iona Pannett saying details should have been published.

The DomPost reported:

The council’s waterfront project director, Michael Faherty,​ told the meeting the developer believed it was a good market-related deal and the commercial terms needed to remain confidential because the agreement was still conditional on resource consent, and there was a chance of it not proceeding.

With its advertising this week before the resource consent decision is known, Willis Bond now seem to be more confident than they were in 2017.

And next door to Site 9, there is already a big new building on Site 10:
It was a view – now it’s a wall


  1. Rumpole, 5. October 2019, 11:37

    Hilda and I are appalled that Willis Bond is being given another exclusive right by the City Council to develop and own prime waterfront land. The Auditor General needs to intervene and stop this cosy relationship.

  2. Alana, 5. October 2019, 11:54

    Thanks for focusing again on the on-going commercialisation of public land on the Wellington Waterfront.
    The details of the deal are still hidden away from public scrutiny but Willis Bond are confident of their success in the Environment Court.
    When will City Councillors stop giving away scarce open public space on the Wellington waterfront?

  3. Charles, 5. October 2019, 15:29

    Willis Bond like a select few developers have WCC in their pocket. This has been the situation for years and won’t change.

  4. tom, 5. October 2019, 16:34

    To put this in context, buildings are routinely advertised before they are consented – it’s not at all uncommon for apartments in new apartment buildings, for instance, to be sold out before consent has even been applied for. Office buildings are the same, the consenting process can be a long one and developers want to get advertising started as soon as possible.

  5. Traveller, 5. October 2019, 20:51

    It’s sad that the city council is enabling the harbour to be walled off from the city at Kumutoto by these two Willis Bond buildings. The magnificent waterfront panoramas were defended by a big majority of people during the Waterfront Watch campaigns at the start of the century. But now the council has chosen to forget public opinion and, worse, has chosen to allow more of the splendid views which made Wellington unique to be blocked.

  6. Melelisa, 5. October 2019, 22:14

    Well I think in consideration of public safety, in particular the potential lease-ee’s, I am in favour of waiting for a permit to be granted by the Environmental Court, prior to any decisions partaining to the leasing of the premises or part-thereof.

  7. Spaced out, 6. October 2019, 9:25

    Opposition to Variation 17 filled the Town Hall with two thousand angry people in 2000-2001…What is this Council doing? Closing the Town Hall for at least 10 years and walling off our waterfront despite clear public objections and a change of direction then by the Council. Whet a legacy!

    One of the biggest public lies the Council has perpetrated is that such developments bring dollars to the Council. They do not and never did. One company has profited enormously from the public purse from cheap, really cheap upfront payments…..that’s a whole other big story. Residents and ratepayers have paid big time… in dollars and for the huge loss of public space on their waterfront.

  8. Nora, 6. October 2019, 9:46

    Another commercial building on the Kumutoto site is just moving the CBD down to the waterfront, depriving the public of open space and adult/children’s play areas, easy access to the Eastbourne ferries and fishing facilities. This precious land needs sensitive landscaping for the enjoyment of everyone and to provide for the tourists who walk from the port so they can sit and enjoy our harbour and hills – not another office block as across the road there is a surfeit of new buildings.

  9. Marion Leader, 6. October 2019, 13:49

    How does this Lester-driven project fit in with the Council’s Climate Change policy which includes sea level rise? Is the Climate Change policy a sham?

  10. Ruz, 10. October 2019, 17:18

    I am surprised that any consent would be given for a new building on the waterfront given that at some stage this area is apparently destined to be underwater because of rising sea levels caused by climate change.

  11. CC, 10. October 2019, 22:50

    Isn’t it ironic that a sign is needed on Lambton Quay to indicate where the harbour can be found, yet the Council support an extension to the Great Wall of Willis Bond?