More than 400 Tauranga City Council staff are about to pack up and move office, for the good of the city.
This is what Tauranga City Council CEO Garry Poole told SunLive in a one-on-one interview yesterday.
Council staff are moving from the soon to be demolished Westpac building, so it can be knocked down to make way for a 12 storey $50 million retail/office/residential development on the site.
Demolition is scheduled for February, 2018.
City council staff have been renting the building since the discovery of toxic mould in the old administration building in December 2014.
The next move will be a more planned exercise with professional movers enlisted to make the transition at seamless as possible, says Garry.
The council lease doesn't expire until 2019, and with rights of renewal could have stayed until 2021.
“But obviously if you think about our strategic objectives about having a strong economically healthy vibrant CBD, developments like that are actually consistent with the objectives and future of the CBD.
“We clearly believe that development is in the interests of the objectives we have set for the CBD of a vibrant healthy CBD, so for that reason, we have agreed to basically surrender our lease.
“We are just negotiating the final date for that and the staff can start moving into 306 Cameron road.”
The partners in the new development; Richard Cashmore, Neil Craig and property owners the Carr family, approached the council “some time ago” to discuss whether there was any appetite for surrendering the lease, says Garry.
“For the reasons I gave earlier, we were up for that conversation.”
The council is also endeavouring to make the transition cost neutral.
“We don't want to make money out of this move, but we don't want to lose money,” says Garry.
“We are working with the partners in an open book fashion.”
The move will be organised by a relocation specialist, the same one that co-ordinated the Trustpower move from Te Maunga into the new Durham Street building.
“One of the reasons we are doing that is we want to make sure this transition is as smooth and as convenient as possible for our people,” says Garry.
“When you think about it, we had an emergency exit from here into Baycourt, three weeks to a month, then they kind of moved to various locations.
“We are highly conscious of the fact that our people have been making sacrifices, and in terms of convenience they are making another one for the good of the city. So we want to do our best to make sure disruption is minimised.”
The upside of the move is it will be into a far more modern building better able to support the activity-based working model the council wants to take into its new civic heart building.
Tauranga City Council's Headquarters, including the Customer Service Centre and Council Chambers remain at 91 Willow Street.
In June 2017, Council sought expressions of interest for a development partner to deliver a civic administration building and surrounding open space.
Through the EOI, respondents were also asked to consider the concurrent development of a city centre hotel and conference centre.
EOI proposals closed on June 21.
Approval will be sought to shortlist respondents at the confidential Council meeting on Thursday, July 27.