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City Council favours lease arrangement for new building

9 February 2006

For its proposed new civic offices Christchurch City Council favours using an associated organisation to own the land and buildings and leasing it back.

The Council today (9 February) considered a staff report summarising an examination of ownership options by consultants Deloitte. The staff recommendation, that any new building and land for it be owned by a council-controlled trading organisation and leased back to the Council, was supported by the city councillors.

Such an arrangement would be similar to the ownership of the public buildings and venues managed by VBase Venue Management Group – the Christchurch Town Hall, Convention Centre, Jade Stadium and Westpac Centre.

The consultants used a 20-year occupancy to compare five options, including full Council ownership, leasing from an unrelated owner or using a trust to own the building. Over that 20-year lifetime, the option of leasing from a council-controlled organisation was identified as having the lowest over-all cost to the Council.

The site of any new building is still being investigated and it is expected staff will report to the Council on this next month. Last year, the Council called for registrations of interest from landowners who believed their properties would suit the Council’s purposes.

A new central city office for about 1000 of the council’s staff is needed because the current Tuam Street centre, built as a department store in the 1930s, is fast approaching the end of its life as decent office accommodation. The Council has for some time directed that nothing but necessary maintenance be done on it.

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