Central Hamilton facility set to open

Central Hamilton facility set to open
The Waikato District Health Board’s new Waiora CBD support centre in central Hamilton will house around 750 staff.

After many years in planning phase followed by nearly two years of construction and fit out Waikato District Health Board’s new central Hamilton facility “Waiora CBD” will welcome its fi rst staff teams from October this year.
For the DHB’s Executive Director for Facilities and Business, Chris Cardwell, the opening of the two-level support centre , measuring upward of two football fields in floor area, can’t come soon enough, though the logistics of moving 750 staff in stages from the Waikato Hospital campus and other service centres scattered throughout the city, presents another challenge.
The acquisition and long-term lease of this central city space, known for years as The Farmers Building, was due to several key drivers as Chris explains.
“We wanted to create a long-term flexible real-estate cost advantage by locking in a low rental rate.
“We are very conscious that occupancy costs in Hamilton are increasing in line with escalating building costs, land values, a dearth of large floor plate office supply and limited good quality existing buildings with high seismic ratings.
“Occupiers don’t have abundant options without moving out of the CBD. “We also wanted to create synergies by pulling together a number of sites we already had in the CBD.”
The other main push from the DHB’s perspective stemmed from how constrained the Hospital campus has become.
Space was needed to be found at Waikato Hospital for a planned new acute adult health inpatient facility, so a suitable footprint needed to be created by relocating groups of staff off site.
Chris says one of the key benefi ts of the open plan floor space on both levels of Waiora CBD is its ability to be highly flexible space, catering for future change in workspace requirements and service delivery models over time.
Another factor which led to the decision to acquire the lease from owner Podium Investments Limited was the need for a seismically sophisticated structure.

Central Hamilton facility set to open
Waiora CBD will be home to several essential DHB services, including: Information Systems, Health Share, Payroll, Accounts, Public Health Strategy and Funding.

“When work began on upgrading the old building the landlord invested heavily in its structural integrity and this made the build ideal for the DHB to use.
“We needed over 10,000 square meters to justify a long-term commitment to the cost of leasing the building and this is what the building will deliver, uniquely, across single floor plates of well over of 5,000 square meters each,” Chris explains.
Waiora CBD will be home to several essential DHB services, including: Information Systems, Health Share, Payroll, Accounts, Public Health Strategy and Funding, number of community focussed services (START, HOP, REACH) together with Disability Support Link.
Other services that will operate from the building include Infant, Child, Adolescent Mental Health Services (ICAMS), which will be approached from Anglesea Street.
Access to other services will be gained from Alexandra Street. When asked how much he was looking forward to the ‘cutting the ribbon’ moment Chris said he expected this process would happen many times as moves are phased.
“We are moving our people in over a six month period with Christmas in the middle. It’s the only way such a large number of staff providing the services they do can be relocated and continue to supply essential services.”
The first group to move will be Public Health Strategy and Funding, on the first floor later this year.
Chris turned to well-known architectural firm Jasmax, to design the fit-out. The same company was also commissioned by the landlord, Podium Investments to undertake the design of the building’s refurbishment and seismic upgrade.
This meant that efficiencies in the design phase could be achieved by Jasmax linking with both the developer and the DHB at the same time.
Another factor in the move to the building that shouldn’t be overlooked is in the sheer number of people employed by the DHB who will be operating from the building.
“We’re thrilled to think that with so many people working at Waiora CBD in the future, it will give the southern part of central Hamilton and the businesses there a real boost. We’re really proud that we are able to partner with Podium Investments in a major adaptive re-use of a landmark building that will bring lasting benefits to the DHB, city and community.”
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