Update, 11 February 2002: Justice John Priestley has turned down accountancy firm Ernst & Young’s quest for an interim injunction stopping Kiwi Income Property Trust from putting new tenant IBM NZ Ltd’s name on top of the Majestic Centre in Wellington.
Ernst & Young wanted the injunction until a hearing of the substantive argument in the Auckland High Court, now set down for hearing on Monday 7 April.
The judge recognised an IBM sign on the building could quickly become a landmark and effectively render Ernst & Young’s naming rights option of little value. The ruling enables an IBM sign to be erected, with the possibility that if the substantive judgment goes against Kiwi the sign would have to be pulled down again.
Ernst & Young seeks injunction to keep IBM name off Majestic Centre
Decision next week in naming & signage rights row
Accountancy firm Ernst & Young has gone to court to stop Kiwi Income Property Trust from putting new tenant IBM NZ Ltd’s name on top of the Majestic Centre in Wellington.
Justice John Priestley heard argument from all 3 parties in the Auckland High Court on Thursday and said he would deliver his ruling on Ernst & Young’s interim injunction application before next Wednesday.
Failure by the accountants to get the injunction would allow the IBM signage to be erected immediately, though that might last only a few weeks. Justice Priestley will hear the substantive case on Monday 3 March.
Ernst & Young is an original tenant of the Majestic Centre, on Wellington’s Willis St. In 2000 it recommitted early to the building, extending its lease on 5 floors from the March 2003 lease expiry to 2009, but relinquishing 2 floors which had subtenants.
When the building got its original resource consent, opposition by the Kelburn Residents Association stopped the building getting a name in bright lights on the roof, but Ernst & Young had an option on naming rights.
Kiwi Income Property Trust secured IBM as a tenant last year, drawing the computer company from AMP NZ Office Trust’s IBM Centre on Featherston St and offering IBM signage. The Featherston St building is to become the HP Tower from November.
Kiwi was able to offer signage after getting a non-notified resource consent which ignored the conditions of the previous consent. Ernst & Young was told about the IBM lease on 2 floors, and proposed signage, 3 weeks before its 1 May 2002 commencement date.
Ernst & Young opted for the cheaper course initially of going to Wellington City Council to overturn the new consent. After failing there, it went to the High Court to get an injunction.