Wellington Scoop

Willis Bond planning Athfield-designed six-storey building for waterfront


News from WCC
Wellington Waterfront Limited is seeking approval from the Wellington City Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee next Wednesday for its selection of Willis Bond & Co as preferred developer of Site 10 in the Kumutoto precinct, and to request it begin a process of formal public consultation on the concept designs and adjacent public space.

Willis Bond’s project was chosen after a rigorous selection and evaluation process that included not only assessment by Wellington Waterfront Ltd and Council officers, but also the Council’s Technical Advisory Group and independent experts.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said: “The examination of any new development on Wellington’s waterfront is important for our city; this area is fundamental to Wellington’s sense of place.

“It offers unique opportunities for activity and recreation arising from the harbour edge location, and at this northern end we also have the opportunity to complete the waterfront promenade, make the public spaces more attractive, and integrate this location into the CBD and business activities of our vibrant city.

“The proposed design is more inviting than the previous proposition on the site. It allows for more room on the promenade and it frames the heritage Eastbourne Ferry building, right next door, rather than obscuring it. I’ll be interested in the public’s response to this proposal.”


Ian Pike, CEO of WWL said today: “The Willis Bond proposal offers an exemplary architectural response that is a unique landmark building that also complements the environment it sits within, and provides an optimal blend of commercial, retail and publicly accessible spaces within Site 10.

“It includes a generously proportioned three storey high civic portico entry to the building and offers considerable public amenity including ground floor accessible space, covered pedestrian ways around and through the ground floor of the building and is complemented by high quality landscaped public space around the building,” Mr Pike said.

The proposal includes six levels; ground floor plus 5 levels of office space, and a green roof. It is designed to have many environmentally sustainable characteristics and incorporates international best practice seismic design features including base isolation.

“The building is an outstanding contemporary design by Athfield Architecture, delivered by the very experienced Willis Bond and their team.

“This proposal delivers the vision and meets the objectives of the Wellington Waterfront Framework, and presents a great opportunity to revitalise what is currently a bleak, uninviting and unfinished yet important gateway to and from the waterfront,” Ian Pike said.

Willis Bond is well known for a number of significant commercial development projects in Wellington, including Chews Lane, Clyde Quay Wharf (the Overseas Passenger Terminal), and the redevelopment of the NZX Building, St John Building and Mac Brewery on the waterfront.

Mark McGuinness, Willis Bond Chief Executive, said: “We are pleased to have been successful in what was a very rigorous selection process and have the opportunity to continue working with WWL and the City to enhance the waterfront experience for Wellingtonians and deliver a building and public space that Wellingtonians can be proud of.”

Although a single building the design has a number of complementary components, spaces and functions overlapping with the adjacent landscape. Included in the design is a continuation of the Whitmore Plaza, a Creative Business Hub, A Harbour Wharf Link, a Working Gantry and a Quayside Colonnade which provides for a continuous sheltered public walkway from the Whitmore Street gates to opposite the railway station (see notes for details).

The overall height of the building, while slightly higher than the suggestion contained in the Environment Court decision, is regarded as generally being in scale with its neighbours.

Ian Pike said today once approval has been given, the next steps called for WWL to undertake a comprehensive process of public consultation on the Willis Bond preliminary concept design of the proposed building and public space beginning late January.

Following the analysis of information gained from the public consultation, the developed design, final commercial terms and agreements will be presented to Council for formal approval before the project seeks a notified resource consent.

Councillor Andy Foster, Chair of the Transport and Urban Design Committee, said today: “The preliminary design concepts are very exciting and will help us realise the full potential of this key waterfront precinct, and offers great recreational, cultural and employment opportunities for the city.”

Willis Bond pushing the limits, again


  1. Peter, 26. November 2013, 9:33

    WWL, TAG and Councillor Foster should all be dumped for their cynical attitudes in relation to the Environment Court decision that was incorporated in the District Plan.

  2. Alana Bowman, 26. November 2013, 12:44

    The unnecessary need to fill up public space on the waterfront continues, and this design goes beyond the court’s recommendation. Again WCC puts itself out on a limb to please a developer.
    And this official news release from the city council states that the matter will come before the council “next Wednesday” when in fact it will be heard tomorrow – giving the public one day to prepare.

  3. Effie, 26. November 2013, 15:23

    It beggars belief that the Environment Court can be so casually ignored by WWL and Andy Foster. And no surprises that public consultation starts January 2014 when people are on holiday.

  4. Hel, 27. November 2013, 22:16

    Great looking proposal and can’t wait to see the designs when public consultation begins. What a transformation for one of the remaining eyesores on the waterfront.

  5. K. Henning-Hansen, 28. November 2013, 11:00

    Conspiracy theorists alive and well! Why can’t we hear MORE from the architects, and also the developer? And have a bit of critical discussion about urban planning, future cities etc?

  6. Peter, 28. November 2013, 15:05

    Thanks K. H-H. Some people were a bit worried that you and your fellow conspiracy theorists might have disappeared in a puff of smoke.

    Now that is out of the way, have you not followed the media reports, attended the relevant committee meetings, been actively involved in researching the expert reports, and – like those who have argued their case in the Courts more successfully than the Council over the years – put your money where your mouth is? Those who you denigrate have and they generally believe there are justified concerns about the privatization and continuing commercial development of one of the city’s greatest assets.

    There is to be a ‘public consultation’ process. Predictably, only one proposal will be put forward, that of the Willis-Bond as presented to the Council by WWL. The alternatives – of accepting the height restriction that arose from the Variation 11 Environment Court case, or even a ‘no building’ option to allow future generations a say in their environment – are not likely to be proposed as options.

  7. Sam, 11. November 2017, 11:23

    Great to see the waterfront being utilised. These expensive developments really suit the posh feel of the place

  8. David Bond, 13. November 2017, 13:27

    Do not build anything along the waterfront which will preclude the installation of a cut-and-cover, or at-grade-covered-over extension of our rail system along the waterfront route and beyond.

    Think ahead, Wellington City Council, read the signs and anticipate the way the future is likely to go.

    We have wasted too many decades with heads-in-the-sand, believing that transport will somehow fix itself through more of the same policies that have caused the problems we currently have.