89 Courtenay Place, Wellington.

Chows revert from hotel to office upgrade for old Colonial Motors building

NZX-listed property company Chow Group Ltd’s management company, CGML Ltd, said yesterday it had axed plans for a 230-room hotel conversion of its century-old 89 Courtenay Place tower in Wellington and, instead, would upgrade it for office use.

Director Michael Chow said the 9-storey 8720m² building would be upgraded to 88% of new building standard, making it one of the highest seismically rated office buildings in the Te Aro district of Wellington.

Mr Chow said the refurbishment would be a multi-million dollar exercise, but didn’t give a precise figure.

The former Colonial Motor Co Ltd building was erected in 1922, with changes to its Courtenay Place façade since then.

Mr Chow said refurbishment would start this month, and phased completion would start happening within 3 months.

The building has 950m² floorplates, some with character ceilings, and it’s best known for its expanse of windows. It has 70 secure onsite parking spaces, accessible from York St.

Last year, the Chow brothers had planned to convert the commercial space into a 4-star 230-room deluxe hotel, but changed their minds after the November 2016 earthquakes, where retaining the commercial property was better aligned to the Chow Group’s business goals.

“An important consideration for businesses is the safety of buildings in the event of seismic activity. The structural integrity of 89 Courtenay Place was not affected by the November 2016 7.8 earthquake, meaning our existing tenants were undisturbed while much of the city came to an abrupt halt.

“As part of our refurbishment plans, we are taking steps to increase our new building standard rating from 71% to 88% and we anticipate high demand for these spaces, which have been offered for immediate lease.” he said.

Naming rights will also be available.

History, Wellington City Council heritage site

Attribution: Company release.

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