Decision 5 - Fixing resilience issues in Te Ngākau Civic Square - Council office buildings

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Consultation has concluded

Te Ngākau Civic Square is the musical, creative, and democratic heart of Wellington, but there are concerns about its earthquake resilience.


The Town Hall is closed and is now being earthquake strengthened. The Central Library has resilience issues that we are seeking feedback on in Decision 6 of this plan. There are also resilience issues with the two Council office buildings - the Municipal Office Building (MOB), the Civic Administration Building (CAB), as well as the Capital E, the City to Sea bridge and the underground carpark. The costs of fixing are big.

What's the background to this decision?

We are working on the Vision and Framework for Te Ngākau right now and it is likely to emulate the self-funding model used on the Waterfront. Like the Waterfront, any developments that would happen would be done under the implementation of the framework that will stipulate the vision, objectives and principles for the whole precinct and ensure the Council and city shape any developments that would happen in this key public space.

In the meantime, we need a plan for the two big Council office buildings that are earthquake damaged and empty. As MOB and CAB are physically connected and have similar resilience issues, it is important that the future of the two buildings is considered together. They both need lots of strengthening work that will cost millions - higher than the $50m estimate.

There are four options

Option 1:
Demolish and site developed through a long-term ground lease
(preferred option)

Option 2:
Proceed with base build proposal for public purposes

Option 3:
Retain and seek to repurpose

Option 4:
Sell to support development

In option 1 the MOB and CAB buildings would be demolished, and new buildings developed in their place. Option 1 would:

  • involve the sale of a long-term ground lease and private funding to develop the replacement building; and
  • avoid the significant costs involved in strengthening the existing buildings

Housing the National Music Centre (NMC) within any new MOB building would be pursued. (The NMC comprises of the NZSO and Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand School of Music -Te Kōkī)


Remediate MOB in its current form and for it to be a part of the National Music Centre. Retain and strengthen CAB.
It would possibly be completed quicker than alternate options that involve a replacement building and would retain the building’s heritage value.

This option would see MOB strengthened and upgraded to a lesser standard to be fit for use as lower end office space. CAB would be strengthened in the same manner as envisaged under option 2.

Option 3 does not vary greatly from Option 2 but, would prevent MOB from being available for the National School of Music.

Option 4 would seek to sell MOB and CAB ‘as is’. The new owners would then become responsible for the strengthening and upgrade of the two buildings. Development risk would pass with the building to the new owner. Council would keep ownership of the land.

Given the challenges and costs to strengthen these buildings there is no certainty that there would be a buyer or of the sale value, it may actually require Council to incentivise any sale.

Capital cost and debt impact: Proceeds of $7m from the sale of MOB ground lease; $7m from the sale of CAB ground lease.
Capital cost and debt impact: Estimated $84m for MOB, Estimated $48m for CAB
Capital cost and debt impact: Estimated $70m - $90m for MOB. Estimated $48m for CAB.
Capital cost and debt impact: None
Rates change: 0.18% 3 year average increase
Rates change: 1.05% 3 year average increase
Rates change: 1.07% 3 year average increase
Rates change: None


These options have pros and cons, and are outlined in more detail here

Our preferred option

The Council prefers Option 1 - to demolish and rebuild the MOB and CAB buildings in partnership with private investment through a long-term ground lease for the site. Combining a MOB and CAB development would enhance this opportunity and significantly decrease the need for additional Council borrowing and ratepayer funding to address these impaired buildings.


Want to know more about another Decision? Head back to our Long-term Plan homepage or read our full consultation document

Or, are you ready to have your say? Head to our Long-term Plan online submission form

Te Ngākau Civic Square is the musical, creative, and democratic heart of Wellington, but there are concerns about its earthquake resilience.


The Town Hall is closed and is now being earthquake strengthened. The Central Library has resilience issues that we are seeking feedback on in Decision 6 of this plan. There are also resilience issues with the two Council office buildings - the Municipal Office Building (MOB), the Civic Administration Building (CAB), as well as the Capital E, the City to Sea bridge and the underground carpark. The costs of fixing are big.

What's the background to this decision?

We are working on the Vision and Framework for Te Ngākau right now and it is likely to emulate the self-funding model used on the Waterfront. Like the Waterfront, any developments that would happen would be done under the implementation of the framework that will stipulate the vision, objectives and principles for the whole precinct and ensure the Council and city shape any developments that would happen in this key public space.

In the meantime, we need a plan for the two big Council office buildings that are earthquake damaged and empty. As MOB and CAB are physically connected and have similar resilience issues, it is important that the future of the two buildings is considered together. They both need lots of strengthening work that will cost millions - higher than the $50m estimate.

There are four options

Option 1:
Demolish and site developed through a long-term ground lease
(preferred option)

Option 2:
Proceed with base build proposal for public purposes

Option 3:
Retain and seek to repurpose

Option 4:
Sell to support development

In option 1 the MOB and CAB buildings would be demolished, and new buildings developed in their place. Option 1 would:

  • involve the sale of a long-term ground lease and private funding to develop the replacement building; and
  • avoid the significant costs involved in strengthening the existing buildings

Housing the National Music Centre (NMC) within any new MOB building would be pursued. (The NMC comprises of the NZSO and Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand School of Music -Te Kōkī)


Remediate MOB in its current form and for it to be a part of the National Music Centre. Retain and strengthen CAB.
It would possibly be completed quicker than alternate options that involve a replacement building and would retain the building’s heritage value.

This option would see MOB strengthened and upgraded to a lesser standard to be fit for use as lower end office space. CAB would be strengthened in the same manner as envisaged under option 2.

Option 3 does not vary greatly from Option 2 but, would prevent MOB from being available for the National School of Music.

Option 4 would seek to sell MOB and CAB ‘as is’. The new owners would then become responsible for the strengthening and upgrade of the two buildings. Development risk would pass with the building to the new owner. Council would keep ownership of the land.

Given the challenges and costs to strengthen these buildings there is no certainty that there would be a buyer or of the sale value, it may actually require Council to incentivise any sale.

Capital cost and debt impact: Proceeds of $7m from the sale of MOB ground lease; $7m from the sale of CAB ground lease.
Capital cost and debt impact: Estimated $84m for MOB, Estimated $48m for CAB
Capital cost and debt impact: Estimated $70m - $90m for MOB. Estimated $48m for CAB.
Capital cost and debt impact: None
Rates change: 0.18% 3 year average increase
Rates change: 1.05% 3 year average increase
Rates change: 1.07% 3 year average increase
Rates change: None


These options have pros and cons, and are outlined in more detail here

Our preferred option

The Council prefers Option 1 - to demolish and rebuild the MOB and CAB buildings in partnership with private investment through a long-term ground lease for the site. Combining a MOB and CAB development would enhance this opportunity and significantly decrease the need for additional Council borrowing and ratepayer funding to address these impaired buildings.


Want to know more about another Decision? Head back to our Long-term Plan homepage or read our full consultation document

Or, are you ready to have your say? Head to our Long-term Plan online submission form

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Do you have a questions about Te Ngākau Civic Square?

Check the FAQ's above on the right of this page as well as other questions below - your question may already have an answer.

Please be concise and respectful in asking questions - we will do our best to respond promptly usually by the next working day). Some answers may take a bit longer to get the details right. We monitor the site from 8:30am - 5pm Monday to Friday

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    I think you should box ahead with this and just get a proper Music centre established once and for all. the current MOB just won't cut it so do what you have to do sothat the NZSO and VUW canget cracking withtheir Music cnetre. You have treasure sitting right under your nose withehe NZSO.....please treat it with proper respect by providing proper housing for it for a start. The NZSO is not a luxury for the Capital City, it is a givne and we need to respect it prperly and enjoy the benefits which it brings to the City.

    George155 asked 7 months ago

    Kia ora George155, 

    Thank you for your comments and your interest in our plan. 

    Nga mihi

    Amy