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Shortland st tower perks up Trans Tasman

By Campbell McIlroy

Friday 2nd June 2000

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The Trans Tasman Properties' board has signalled its intention to go ahead with its proposed tower on the site of the old Auckland Star building in Shortland St.

At this week's annual meeting executive chairman Don Fletcher said management was in discussion with significant tenants, rumoured to include law firm Simpson Grierson, and resource consents had been granted for the project and design documentation. Contract pricing and development feasibility had also been completed.

However, Mr Fletcher said the company would not proceed without a minimum 70% pre-leasing commitment.

But the tower would be less substantial than expected. Mr Fletcher said a 70% pre-leasing commitment would leave only five floors to lease over the two-year construction period.

This would put the building at 16 to 17 levels, well short of its 42-storey neighbour the Royal & SunAlliance Centre, and AMP's 31-storey PricewaterhouseCoopers Centre.

The company recorded an operating surplus of $47.4 million for the year to December 31 but after a $25.1 million (2%) writedown of its portfolio's value as well as non-operating costs, minority interests and equity earnings that figure turned into a $5.5 million deficit.

The operating surplus was the best in the company's history with more than 120 new leases signed in New Zealand and Australia over the past year.

Australian Growth Properties, in which Trans Tasman has a 46.6% shareholding, recorded an after-tax operating profit of $A21.2 million with a full year dividend of 7.5Ac a share.

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