New Zealand House deal has £150m pricetag with work due to start middle of next year

Multiplex is set to carry out a £150m revamp of the landmark New Zealand House tower in London’s St James’s, Building can reveal.

The firm has signed a PCSA with the Crown Estate for the work which is expected to start in the middle of next year. Plans for the upgrade were submitted by architect Lifschutz Sandilands Davidson four years ago and were updated earlier this year.

The 18-storey building at 80 Haymarket was designed by RMJM and completed in 1963, before being given a grade II listing in 1995.

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New Zealand House was completed in1963 to a design drawn up by RMJM

Considered the capital’s first tower block, it was built by historic London contractor Holland, Hannen & Cubitts, the firm behind the Cenotaph and Unilever House at Blackfriars, which was later bought by Tarmac in the 1970s.

New Zealand House comprises four podium levels and a 14-storey main tower and has been the New Zealand High Commission’s main base in the UK since opening. It was London’s first air conditioned building and the first to have continuous glazing on all elevations. 

Work planned by the Crown Estate also includes refurbishing the grade I listed Royal Opera Arcade which is next door to the site.

As well as providing space for the New Zealand government, with official function facilities planned for the 18th floor, the refurbished block will include around 95,000 sq ft of office space that will be marketed at commercial occupiers since the building has long been considered too big for the New Zealand government. The revamp will also include new retail and bar facilities.

The Crown Estate said the tower, which was last refurbished in 1992, had “now reached the end of its commercial life, with poorly utilised and redundant office space unsuited to the needs of modern businesses”.

Others working on the scheme include project manager T&T, structural engineer AKT II and services engineer Watkins Payne.

Multiplex, which recently brought in former Laing O’Rourke buildings operations leader Karl Wilkinson to a project manager role on the firm’s tall towers portfolio, is understood to have beaten Lendlease and Skanska to the job. The latter is also up against Multiplex for the second phase of the St James’s Market scheme for the Crown Estate and Oxford Properties.

Designed by Make, the scheme includes six buildings on a site near Piccadilly Circus.