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What to do with the Civic building

News this week that the future of the council’s civic building is uncertain once the council move out of it later this year and move to the old ASB tower on the corner of Albert and Wellesley St.

The future of New Zealand’s first skyscraper, the 100m tall Auckland Council Civic Administration Building, is in the balance.

To be vacated by the council later this year for new headquarters at 135 Albert Street, the building has serious structural issues and would require an estimated $70 million retrofit to give it a new lease of life.

The council has no further identifiable use for the building – designed in the 1950s and opened in 1966 – so it faces possible demolition or refurbishment for other uses, the Finance and Performance Committee heard today.

At the leading edge of building technology when constructed, the building is not listed for protection but two recent assessments suggest it worthy of Category A or B scheduling. Category A listing would limit the type of renovation permitted.

Refurbishment would have to include removing asbestos installed during construction as a fire retardant.

The committee decided to test the market for investor interest in refurbishment and at the same time request Regional Facilities Auckland, a council controlled organisation, to include the building in a review of possible future uses of the Civic /Aotea Centre precinct.

“Market testing and precinct planning opportunities will allow us to determine the future of the building with a complete picture of options and costs,” said committee chair Councillor Penny Webster.

Staff will report back before the end of the year.

Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

There’s a good piece on this from Todd Niall at Radio NZ.

Just before it was built it also featured in this short film that effectively documents when some things started going really wrong with Auckland. It’s at about 3:35 in but if you watch from the start you have to first get part the part where they talk about how the city used to be noisy and congested due to the trams but that with them gone traffic can be controlled smoothly. But goes on about how we need to get the cars off the streets and give them paces to stop when they want to (like they are a living being). To do that a “vigorous parking building programme” was underway to build a ring of parking buildings around the CBD. Later on it celebrates the sprawl that dominates Auckland today and the construction of the motorways

So what do you think should happen to the civic building which is said could be replaced with a new building with twice the floor space for half the cost of refurbishment?