The Laidlaw College Foundation has finalised an agreement with Panuku Development Auckland to buy part of Auckland Council’s campus in Henderson, excluding the former council chamber.
The price tag is $26.8 million, which Laidlaw chair Graham Burt said on Friday was consistent with the registered valuation of that portion of the recently subdivided property. The council will reinvest sale proceeds into its corporate property network.
Mr Burt said the transaction marked the start of a collaborative relationship “between 2 local organisations committed to the growth & rejuvenation of Henderson”.
The agreement advances council company Panuku’s Unlock Henderson urban regeneration programme, boosting numbers & business in the town centre while enabling development around the train station and sparking further regeneration.
The sale includes the administration building & Central 1 plus the land surrounding these 2 buildings, containing about 12,000m² of offices on 2.37ha.
The council chamber will remain as a community hub for shared use. The sale also excludes the Japanese garden, City Rail Link land & internal road & greenway (currently under construction).
It’s a gradual move
Neither organisation’s occupancy will change in the short to mid-term. The council has put plans in motion to relocate staff to its new workspace in Albany, with a leaseback arrangement in place until the new building is ready. The service centre & Henderson-Massey Local Board will remain in Henderson, in due course moving into the Civic Building.
For the college foundation, Mr Burt said the sale was part of a long-term vision, and the foundation was committed to remaining & investing in the Henderson area.
“Laidlaw College looks forward to working with Panuku to begin planning for our move to this important central community site in 2-3 years. Laidlaw College was established nearly 100 years ago, and we have a history steeped in the community. As an existing & valued member of Henderson, we are committed to remaining & contributing to the renewal of the area.”
Waitakere ward councillor Linda Cooper said the sale was expected to contribute to local economic growth while ensuring access to the council was retained at a local community level.
“There is vast potential in Henderson to increase the number of people living & working near the town centre. With this, we project a natural increase in economic activity in the area, boosting local businesses, communities & the area as a whole.
“I’m pleased & relieved the Civic Building is being kept in public ownership. This building serves the community, providing a place where the local board & community connect, meet & celebrate special occasions. We think of it as our town hall.”
Benefit for college runanga
Laidlaw College’s runanga (Maori council) will make use of the community space in the civic building for its hui & community marae.
Runanga chair Brad Haami said: “Te Runanga o te Wananga Amorangi – Maori Council of Laidlaw College – supports the decision by the national governing council to transition the foundation to new premises. Te Runanga looks forward to moving into this next phase of the foundation’s life with the outlook of maintaining the legacy of those many Maori elders who launched their ministries from here. With this shift, Te Runanga welcomes a much deeper bi-cultural journey for the college with iwi Maori me nga hunga whakapono Maori.”
The sale marks the start of a journey which will eventually see Laidlaw College move its Henderson campus at 80 Central Park Drive to 2-6 Henderson Valley Rd sometime after 2022. Laidlaw College & the council will communicate with its various stakeholders, including employees & students, at key stages of the planning process but stressed that it would be some time before any changes occur.
Mr Burt said: “The earliest we anticipate we will move our Henderson college is the start of 2022, or even 2023. Laidlaw College & Panuku look forward to working together to begin planning for the development of this important central community site.”
About Laidlaw College
Laidlaw College, formerly the Bible College of NZ, is the country’s largest interdenominational Christian tertiary college, offering a range of programmes from entry level certificates & diplomas through to bachelors, masters & doctoral degrees in counselling, teacher education, theology & Christian leadership.
It’s a category 1 NZQA provider, with a strong research culture and a mission to equip students & scholars to renew their communities.
The college was founded in 1922 and has campuses in Waitakere, Manukau & Christchurch, as well as offering programmes via distance learning. “For 60 years our main campus has been in Henderson. Our integrated approach to learning facilitates deep & imaginative engagement and honours the cultural distinctiveness of each student & their community,” Mr Burt said.
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Attribution: Laidlaw & Panuku release.