We sat down with project lead, our Head of Office, Ryan Carter to get an insight into the project journey and what it means for the wider Harbour Grounds community.
Anchorpoint is part of a wider redevelopment of 22 Viaduct Harbour Ave, within our Auckland-based Harbour Grounds neighbourhood, inclusive of a new retail destination, corporate lounge experience and premium workspace upgrades over levels 3 & 4 of the building. We look forward to sharing more news on the retail, opening in Q4 2023.
When did the 22 Viaduct Harbour Ave redevelopment journey begin?
Ryan Carter: We started this journey at the end of 2018 when we purchased the VXV portfolio, now Harbour Grounds, consisting of seven assets. At the time, the central plaza that “anchored” the seven buildings lacked life and was not very welcoming – it was concrete on concrete with no greenery, undynamic or adaptable for different uses and with both vehicle and pedestrian access congesting the valuable community space.
From the outset we identified an opportunity to do better and provide an environment that welcomes more than 9000 people to come together. We asked ourselves “how do we create more than just a meeting place, but a space whereby people can come together to socially connect as well as do business?”. The COVID-19 pandemic only cemented this need further.
What helped inform the design concept and what did you draw on for inspiration?
Ryan Carter: To help us better understand what our occupiers wanted in a commercial precinct, we engaged with our customer community via a survey. The consistent message that came back was that they wanted a space with greenery and shade; to relax, collaborate and connect with their peers and friends within the neighbourhood. There was also overwhelming feedback for greater hospitality options on their doorstep, given a lack of offerings in the immediate area.
With this community input we were then able to ask ourselves “how can we create a space that people can enjoy? How can we integrate the indoors and outdoors to allow people to enjoy our spaces in any environmental condition? How can we create a better arrival experience and a space that is safe for pedestrians?”.
It’s from this point that we moved into a design competition and evolved the office space, outdoor area, retail, lobby, lounge and end-of-trip facilities to appeal to our occupiers, a modern workforce. This resulted in an edgy and refined exposed services design with flexible floorplates and increased amenity.
Community appears to be at the core of Harbour Grounds. How has the redevelopment helped to drive occupier engagement?
Ryan Carter: It most definitely is. We wanted to create a space that people could belong, stay connected and have a reason to come back into the office. With the redevelopment there was an opportunity to activate the spaces, and as a result, we also saw an opportunity to reposition the neighbourhood. We wanted to create a platform that would help us foster engagement with the new spaces; enter “Harbour Grounds”. The Harbour Grounds brand, spanning website, social channels, newsletters, events and much more, has been pivotal in driving connectivity within the community. From eco markets, to puppy cuddling sessions and kids sustainability tours – the platform has enabled us to reach both our immediate and the wider communities within the Wynyard Quarter and Viaduct Harbour precincts.
The redevelopment has only recently completed, however what has the response been so far?
Ryan Carter: Halfway through the project we successfully committed 90% of the available office space, which for me, reinforces the quality of the amenity and offering. From a community engagement perspective, the response has been overwhelming, with many of our on-site activations being oversubscribed. It’s great to see our community wanting to connect with each other and be part of the Harbour Grounds family. At the end of the day, we want our occupiers to come to work, feel safe, energised and genuinely enjoy themselves. To know we have played a hand in creating that, makes my job equally enjoyable and fulfilling.