National electricity retailer Meridian Energy Ltd will return to an office in the Christchurch cbd next year after signing up for nearly half the office space in the 5-level Awly building, currently under construction.
The 51% state-owned Meridian has signed a 10-year lease for 4100m² to accommodate its 370 Christchurch staff in the Warren & Mahoney-designed building, owned by Awly Investments Ltd (Anna Wei Lern Yeo & Andy Wei Lok Yeo), at 287-293 Durham St.
Before the earthquakes in 2010-11, Meridian had its office in Manchester St, but subsequently shifted to premises on the cbd fringe, in Moorhouse Avenue.
Noel Gilchrist & Helen Weideman of Colliers International, who negotiated the lease, said they hoped to be able to confirm further Awly tenants soon.
Mr Gilchrist said: “Meridian’s move sends another really positive signal to the market that big office tenants are keen to return to the inner city. Meridian conducted an exhaustive search lasting over a year, during which they looked at numerous sites.
“We think tenants have been sitting back waiting to see who’s going where, but the office space is starting to take on much more shape now and opportunities are becoming more limited. Office tenants who don’t act shortly risk missing out on their first choice.”
Meridian’s corporate property & procurement manager, John Langman, said the company was attracted to the Awly building because it fitted the staff’s criteria: “Safety still remained of primary importance – particularly in a multi-level building. They also wanted good facilities within the building, such as showers & cycle parks, and wanted to be close to other things such as cafes & shops.
“We’re delighted to be moving into the cbd, not just for ourselves but because we know it will encourage others to follow suit. We think this building is one of the best in the city and we are very keen to be part of the inner-city rebuild.”
Meridian hopes to occupy its new space by next March-April.
Awly is the first building in Christchurch, post-earthquakes, to achieve a 5 green star design rating. Among the many sustainable features are a high performance façade with solar-control glazing & tailored external shading, base-isolated structure for greater seismic resilience and a highly efficient air-conditioning system.
Meridian also selected Awly because of its potential energy efficiencies. The building has been designed to target a 4 star-plus NabersNZ rating – an energy performance measurement for office buildings that can help reduce costs for tenants and enhance building value for owners.
NabersNZ measures & rates energy performance on a scale of 1-6 stars. A 5-star rating is considered market leading performance. To achieve a rating, qualified assessors use 12 months of energy use data,and take into account building area, location, computer density and hours of operation.
Attribution: Agency release.