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Construction starts on $140m building with 123 apartments, and base isolators


Mark McGuinness, Andy Foster, Grant Robertson and Dave McGuiness during the groundbreaking.

News from Willis Bond
Construction officially kicked off today to mark the start of Willis Bond’s Victoria Lane Apartments, the city’s first base-isolated apartment building.

Located at 161 Victoria Street, the highly resilient $140 million mixed-use development is one of Wellington’s first major construction projects to start post-lockdown.

Developed by Willis Bond & Co and constructed by LT McGuinness, the project will see close to 300 jobs provided over the two-and-a-half-year build programme and is a major boost not only to the construction sector, but for the wider economy.

Willis Bond director Dave McGuinness says the company is excited to be getting Victoria Lane Apartments underway.

“It’s great to know that this is one of the project’s that will help get Wellington moving again following the COVID-19 lockdown and will see a highly resilient residential and commercial asset delivered to serve the city for years to come.”

Designed by Athfield Architects Limited (AAL), with structural design by Dunning Thornton Consultants (DTC), the building is the first base-isolated residential development in the city, and the largest in New Zealand. It incorporates 24 base isolators that effectively separate the superstructure from the ground. The building is also wrapped in a diagonal grid of steel to give it extra rigidity.

The combination of these two technologies means the building is designed to withstand a 1-in-1,000-year earthquake, compared to conventionally built high-rise buildings, which are generally designed to withstand 1-in-100-year seismic events.

Willis Bond, AAL, DTC and construction partner LT McGuinness were able to keep design and project works moving steadily during lockdown, which has enabled construction to start as planned this month.

“While we’ve had to make some adjustments to our programme, the team has worked hard keep the project on track to achieve practical completion by early 2023” says McGuinness.

The development comprises both residential and commercial space. There will be 123 premium one, two and three-bedroom apartments, 90 percent of which are already sold, as well as 3,240 square metres of base-isolated new office space and ground floor retail spaces.

Both the apartments and office space benefit from secure, separate access off the new pedestrian-only Victoria Lane, which is being created as part of the wider Cuba Precinct development. The lane will run off Victoria Street.

“The development combines several exceptional features for both residents and commercial tenants,” says McGuinness.

“These include its leading-edge base-isolation technology, spectacular design, superb views, great transport links and easy access to the amenities and entertainment options within the vibrant Cuba Street district.

“There are still some great apartments in a range of layouts available, so we’d urge anyone who’s interested to get in touch. We are also seeking expressions of interest in the three floors of office space and the ground floor retail spaces.”

The 3,240 square metres of large format office space on the first three levels can be leased together, separately, or sub-divided and can include co-working options as well as end-of-trip facilities and onsite parking. The 550 square metres of available ground floor retail space fronts onto Victoria Street and the new laneway and is suitable for retail, hospitality or service uses. Final apartments start from $875,000.

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