By Gareth Vaughan
The Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is "reconsidering" whether to go ahead with the NZ$46.3 million acquisition of a leasehold interest in a central Christchurch site for its head office in the garden city following the devastating February 22 earthquake.
BNZ's potential purchase at 772 Colombo Street was revealed by the release of an Overseas Investment Office (OIO) decision - dated February 28 - yesterday granting consent for the deal. OIO approval was required because BNZ is a subsidiary of National Australia Bank.
A BNZ spokeswoman said the bank had been planning to lease space in a proposed development to be undertaken by the Carter Group. The OIO decision names the seller as Andrew Centre Ltd, whose two shareholders are Philip Carter and Michael Ryan.
The OIO decision notes the BNZ intends to lease 4,000 square metres including car parks and ancillary facilities on which it will build its Christchurch head office. The building was to incorporate part of the existing historic facade located on the site.
The BNZ spokeswoman said the OIO's decision summary reflects its calculation of the potential 24 years lease tenure value for the space.
"The proposed development design incorporated a portion of a heritage facade and although this facade was not part of the space BNZ proposed to occupy its inclusion triggered OIO approval," she said.
"Recent events necessitate both parties to reconsider whether or not they proceed with the original concept, an alternative to it, or at all. It will be some months before any decision is reached."
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