14 August 2012

The New Zealand Medical Association’s (NZMA’s) building, located on The Terrace, will be the first Wellington commercial property to be rebuilt in the city since the Christchurch earthquake, and reconstruction will deliver improved safety with 100 per cent earthquake compliance.

Resource consent was granted by the Wellington City Council in May and demolition activity is expected to begin at the end of September.

The NZMA has occupied the site at 26 The Terrace since 1926, and the existing three story building since its construction in 1938.

NZMA Chair Dr Paul Ockelford says that last year the Association undertook a structural assessment of the building and sought an independent engineer’s report on earthquake strength.

“The building only met 10 to 15% of the new building standard, so safety became a major issue for us. The new building will have a seismic rating of 100%.”

The NZMA decided to retain ownership of the building and redevelop it, following an evaluation of its options.

“In addition to improving safety we saw the opportunity to improve the building’s functionality and enhance our investment from rental revenues. The rebuild will include three additional floors, with three office floors available for lease, as well as retail space on the ground floor.”

The NZMA will occupy two floors of the building and the building is on target for completion at the end of 2013.

Dr Ockelford says that the building known as NZMA House, which was officially opened by Minister of Health and future Prime Minister Peter Fraser in 1938, is significant for the Association, given its 75 years of occupancy.

“The NZMA values its history and we’re particularly pleased that the redevelopment will retain the original heritage façade. It will be a strong alignment of the modern and the traditional,” he says, referring to the new features of the building such as green efficient services.

He expects the building’s central location, in the highly sought after parliamentary precinct, will appeal to prospective tenants, and the NZMA is already fielding inquiries about rental space. 
“It’s a very exciting time for the NZMA and we look forward to welcoming new tenants soon.”

The NZMA and commercial property strategists TJL Associates worked closely with the Wellington City Council on heritage and urban design aspects and gained resource consent for the redevelopment.

“Our dealings with the Wellington City Council have been very positive and we’re pleased we were able to gain approval from the Council in a relatively short timeframe to enable us to proceed with redevelopment,” says Dr Ockelford.

The project architects of the new building are Stephenson & Turners Limited. 

Information about the new building, including illustrations and floor plans, can be found atwww.26theterrace.com.