There’s a lot of positive news and activity at the moment across our three major cities, particularly in the commercial property space. Our skylines are really changing and we think that’s a reflection of the positive things that are happening in our economy.
We also think it’s evidence of the emergence of a ‘new’ New Zealand. If I wander through Wellington, I'm encouraged by the industries that are shaping our future – Xero, Trade Me, Wynyard and Weta, plus many more innovative, high-performing businesses that are a bit ‘under the radar’.
As an advisory business in the property sector, we generally run under the radar too. We’re happier quietly doing the work, but very proud too that we’re playing a small part in this change process.
We know that over time, the things we’ve done to help shape our cities will become more obvious and – more importantly – that the value delivered by projects we have been engaged in will become more evident and noticed. When it does, it gives real meaning to our thinking and efforts behind the scenes.
Revolving doors, evolving city
15 Stout Street is one of those projects. The Dom Post was ablaze with the story of how Maurice Clark had taken the old Defence Building (known previously as the Departmental Building) and turned it into a funky and contemporary workplace for MBIE.
For us, the connection with this building goes way back. We moved NZ Defence Force and others out of this building in 2007 when we led the project to procure the new Defence Building in Aitken Street. Once NZDF had relocated, we were engaged to explore how this building could be used as a staging option for MSD. And then, more recently, we acted for the Crown and negotiated the upgrade and refurbishment for MBIE.
Seeing the competed project means we've come full circle! We had great pleasure in Maurice taking us for a tour recently and seeing some of our ideas – such as the atrium – come to life. Maurice has done a great job, but we also think we can take some credit for our influence on this project over the years – a project for which the impact was felt well beyond just one street in Wellington.
It’s the kind of challenging project we love because it required visionary and agile thinking, an understanding of the positions and requirements of various players, robust business-casing and a heap of faith from all involved. The result is not just physical change, but high value-add too. Wellington – the city – is the ultimate winner.
There are other great examples of projects TwentyTwo has been involved in over the last two decades that have helped revitalise and shape our Capital. These include the conversion of the Old Government Buildings into the VUW Law School; the Statistics NZ building at CentrePort; the Meridian building on the waterfront; the WelTec Hospitality School; the upgrade of 222 Willis Street for student accommodation; the planned upgrade of 133 Molesworth Street for the Ministry of Health; and the announcement of Whitiriea's and WelTec's new Wellington campus.
So a lot’s been happening these last few years and it’s continuing at a faster pace than ever. The changes may seem subtle or even unnoticeable ‘in the now’, but over time a city is changing for the better. A new New Zealand needs a new Wellington, new Christchurch and new Auckland too. We’ll be talking about those other cities soon. Until then we’ll be flying under the radar and making stuff happen. Proudly.