Bay of Plenty Regional Council is carrying out a number of major projects involving property it owns during the next two years. This includes the Regional House/Wallingford House sites in Tauranga, the Whakatāne office building and the Commercial Hotel Site, also in Whakatāne.
This page has an overview of each project and will include updates and photos of the work as it is carried out.
Whakatāne office building
Work to refurbish Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Whakatāne building will begin later this year, to update many of the 23-year-old building’s dated and failing systems, increase its sustainability, and introduce an open plan office environment for staff.
Built in 1994, the building on Whakatāne’s Strand East featured leading-edge sustainable design features when it was constructed, including a shade sail which was designed to work with an atrium in the building’s centre to provide natural air circulation.
However some of those design features, such as the internal sensor lighting system, have reached the end of their lifecycle and need to be replaced. The ongoing maintenance required of the building has forced the council to step back and take an overall look at what is required rather than continuing a piecemeal approach to upkeep.
The work will result in a more efficient use of space enabling the Regional Council to lease out unneeded space in its ‘West Wing’. Revenue from future tenancies will go towards offsetting the refurbishment costs.
No positions are leaving Whakatāne as part of the refurbishment work.
The cost of the work will not be known until tenders have been received. Funding for the upgrade work has been included in the Long Term Plan 2015-2025.
The Regional Council currently has 150 staff working from the Whakatāne office.
- Sustainable design features to be included: LED lights, solar arrays; wind turbine; wind lobby
- Work expected to begin: November 2017
- Benefits: significant energy savings, 50 tonne reduction in carbon emissions per annum, increased building value, ongoing rental income from future tenancies
- Number of staff in Whakatāne: 150
Bay of Plenty Regional Council is the current owner of the Commercial Hotel site – which includes both the corner bar (the former Bank building) and the art deco hotel.
The site will be put on the market later this year, but first the Regional Council is demolishing the 1939 art deco hotel building, which is currently a fire and earthquake risk to the historic corner public bar.
The Regional Council has been working with Whakatāne District Council on the future plans for the site, and has donated some of the interior fittings which may have some historic value to the Whakatāne Museum.
It is also intended that the tender for development of the site will be complementary to the community’s vision for the future of the Whakatāne CBD.
Update: Work has finished in demolishing the 1939 Art Deco former hotel.
- Bay of Plenty Regional Council acquired the Commercial Hotel properties in 2003 when its Whakatāne office was at maximum capacity and it was looking for more office space.
- Heritage New Zealand has issued an authority for the demolition work.
- An Archaelogical Report (1MB, pdf) for the site was prepared in 2016 before any work began.
45 The Strand (Corner pub)
- This building is not being demolished
- 1917 building erected for Bank of New Zealand
- Included manager’s accommodation on first floor
- Two-storey masonry building – corner sites and classical styles were traditionally chosen for banks.
- 1939 became part of the New Commercial Hotel
- Major landmark on the corner site – visible from the main wharf and centre of trade at the time it was built. It was designed to make an impression of solidity and reliability, as befitted a bank.
39-43 The Strand (Art Deco building)
- Existing hotel built as the New Commercial Hotel in 1939.
- Architects Birr and Mirfield from Gisborne.
- Has been vacant since purchased by the Regional Council.
- Fire danger to neighbouring heritage building.
Regional House Tauranga
Internal work to strip the interior of the Regional Council’s Tauranga CBD office has progressed well, and work is expected to begin later this year on the next phase of the refit project.
As in the Whakatāne office, Regional House will have a sustainable focus taken in its refurbishment, with solar power, a wind turbine and the ability for the public to see the energy savings being made being included in the work.
The refurbishment has been planned for the building since it was purchased in 2009. Since then Regional Council staff have been located on two levels of the building, but existing tenancies prevented the organisation from moving all its 160 Tauranga-based staff into the one location. People have been working from four locations across Tauranga and Mount Maunganui.
Regional House was built in 1986 and is now in need of a lot of work with systems such as the air conditioning and joinery failing. It also has a major issue with weather tightness. However, it has many strong points including being in a great location for Regional Council’s customers and stakeholders, the building structure is in good shape, and its size means the regional council will finally have one location for all its Tauranga-based staff, with spare space to lease out to tenants which will generate some revenue to offset the upgrade costs.
To enable the work, budget was included in the Long Term Plan 2015-2025.
Key focus areas for the design include improving both the customer interface for the public and encouraging greater interaction between individuals and teams within the organisation.
Once the work on Regional House has been completed it’s proposed that areas of the building not required by the Regional Council will be leased.
- Budgeted costs for redevelopment are included in the Long Term Plan 2015-2025
- Key sustainable design features: rain water harvesting; solar arrays; wind turbine, energy performance monitoring
- Staff intended to work from Regional House: 160 (currently spread across four sites in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui)
- Work began: March 2017
- Timeframe for project: 18 months
- Built: 1986
- Purchased by Regional Council: 2009
Emergency Coordination Centre/Wallingford House
As prescribed by the Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group Plan 2012-2017, the Regional Council has a responsibility to provide the region with a Group Emergency Coordination Centre (GECC). The GECC is a facility from which the CDEM Group Controller coordinates a regional response to emergency events.
The Regional House plans include work on Wallingford House which is located adjacent to Regional House along the Strand Extension, to accommodate the GECC.
Wallingford House has garaging and waterfront access, enabling the Regional Council’s Maritime Team the opportunity to accommodate their vessels on the same site as staff, so that the response time for emergencies can be reduced.
In addition, one level of Wallingford House will become a dedicated Civil Defence workspace once other work has been completed.
The decision was made to locate the GECC in Wallingford House for a number of reasons, including its proximity to many of the Civil Defence Emergency Management partners such as Fire, Police and the Regional Council’s Maritime Team.
The site also benefits from dual access via The Strand extension and Elizabeth Street, providing secondary access should one of the routes be blocked.
Natural hazard modelling has been carried out and found that once the building has been upgraded to an Importance Level 4 category, the GECC would handle scenarios including earthquakes, the largest tsunami event modelled and sea level rise.
Because of the work being taken to upgrade Regional House there is no risk to the building from debris falling.
- Budgeted costs for redevelopment are included in the Long Term Plan 2015-2025
- Timeframe: six months following the completion of the work on Regional House
- Location: The Strand extension
- Dedicated Emergency Coordination Centre for the Bay of Plenty
- Building able to be upgraded to achieve 100% of Importance Level 4 requirements
- Proximity to CDEM partners and additional personnel from the Regional Council should a large scale event occur
- Opportunity to leverage off design features that can will be incorporated in the Regional House refurbishment
- Opportunity for other agencies to use the emergency coordination centre to support emergency events other than civil defence events
- Provides for a realistic and dedicated training environment for staff involved in emergency management