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Bold Symphony readies to launch new office mini-tower

By Campbell McIlroy

Friday 10th November 2000

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ADVANCED PLANS: The Hobson St site is on the 'hot' side of the inner city
Symphony Group has announced plans to develop an 11-storey office building on Auckland's Hobson St, if it can get sufficient tenant commitment.

The plan comes four months after another property company, Trans Tasman Properties, abandoned advanced plans to build a tower in Auckland's Shortland St.

But Symphony's new development is on the "hot" side of town, closer to the waterfront and Viaduct Basin.

The 15,699sq m development is part of a block Symphony began developing five years ago with the Heritage Hotel, IBM Centre and Deloitte House developments.

The new building has followed the trend toward large floor plates with an average 1152sq m of net lettable area on each floor.

Symphony managing director Chris Minty said the company identified a gap in the market for companies wanting high- quality premises with rental levels which made the development feasible.

He said while there was an over-supply of office space in the Auckland CBD, if someone wanted 5000sq m in a new or near-new building with naming rights, but without the premium price tag, there was nowhere to go.

The site sits on the ridge between Auckland's CBD and the burgeoning Viaduct Basin precinct but is freehold, unlike many of the Viaduct developments.

Rentals are understood to be in the $230 to $260 a sq m range, with carparks offered at $75 a week.

"We're surprised at the number of larger tenants looking for large floor plates, and at the shortage of new product available for them to move in to," Mr Minty said.

Medium-sized corporates would be targeted as tenants for the developments with a large number of leases due to expire between now and 2002.

Mr Minty said there was no way the company would go ahead with the development unless it got a commitment from a decent-sized tenant.

But it would not be spending money on taking the project to the market if it did not believe it had a good chance of achieving a result, he said.

It would be midway through next year before the development would get under way. Construction of the ASA Crone-designed building would take about 13 months.

The foundations, 132 car parks and lower ground-floor slab were already built when Symphony did the Heritage developments.

The company plans to lease only nine of the 11 floors, leaving two floors vacant so companies would have expansion options within the building.

Paul Haines from Bayleys has been appointed sole leasing agent for the development.



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