Tauranga City Council has appointed Willis Bond & Co (Willis Bond) as our preferred development partner for the Heart of the City projects following a competitive procurement process.
On 28 June, 2018 council approved the partnering agreement which defines this relationship, and how we work together.
What does this partnership mean?
- we achieve value for our community through a robust partnership arrangement
- we ensure quality and consistency in developments
- we have a long term developer partner, who shares our vision for the city centre
- we can access Willis Bond’s expertise in masterplanning and place making at the inception of a projects life
- we still maintain flexibility and competitiveness with the opportunity to go to market on specific projects.
Initially we will be working with Willis Bond on the following projects:
- the new civic administration building
- public open space
- the new city centre library
- a new hotel - The hotel will be a private development, and council will look at a commercial arrangement for use of the council land. Willis Bond will engage the market for specialist hotel owner, developer and operator.
Our partnership with Willis Bond supports:
- a long term and mutually beneficial relationship based on trust and transparency;
- buying local where commercially feasible;
- attaining value for money for the Tauranga community;
- minimising construction and delivery risk;
- a focus on outcomes for the city – a vibrant, safe successful city centre; and
- a holistic approach to redevelopment, considering the interrelationships between sites.
About Willis Bond
On 28 June 2018, council approved a partnering agreement between property developers Willis Bond & Co (Willis Bond) and Tauranga City Council to develop the civic centre as part of the Heart of the City Programme.
This partnering agreement is one of the foundation pieces for council to create a vibrant, safe and successful city centre.
The Heart of the City Programme is about the:
- creation of a more vibrant, safe and successful city centre;
- achievement of value for money for the Tauranga community;
- improvement of local and regional economic development;
- provision of an appropriate workplace environment for council staff and services;
- provision of fit for purpose, future-proofed facilities; and
- creation of a long-term masterplan and development partnership.
Council has a rigorous process to confirm investment in projects, the most significant being the Long Term Plan process which asks the community for their opinions on what the priorities are and what council should invest in. The partnering agreement is designed to support the long term planning process, not conflict with it.
The key projects for the Heart of the City Programme, as publicly consulted and approved on in the LTP 2018 – 2028 are:
- a new city centre library, to replace the existing building that has serious building issues and is also now too small to service our growing community and its diverse needs;
- a new civic administration building to replace the existing buildings which were demolished due to building issues including mould and weather tightness issues;
- a private sector led, commercially viable hotel on council owned land; and
- the creation of a public open space in a civic precinct to create a gathering and celebration place for the city.
More about the partnering agreement document
The partnering agreement is the formal agreement setting out how the relationship will work. Outlined below are the key principles of the partnering agreement:
The partnering agreement establishes a long term and mutually beneficial relationship based on trust and transparency.
Tauranga City Council and Willis Bond & Co (Tauranga) have been working on releasing more information relating to the partnering agreement. A copy of the partnering agreement with a commercially sensitive attachment removed can be found below.
Partnering Agreement – WB RFP Redacted (4mb pdf)
Project and commercial expectations
The parties acknowledge and agree that it is their shared expectation that, in its capacity as the preferred development partner, Willis Bond will:
- ensure that the quality of each development is at a standard agreed with council;
- undertake each development with such a degree of skill, care, and diligence;
- explore and develop, together with council, options for minimising the costs and risks of each development;
- provide strategic direction and input to council in relation to the overall carrying out of the developments; and
- otherwise assist council to further the developments and realise the project outcomes.
Undertaking and delivering developments
As with all major projects in the LTP, the Heart of the City projects need to pass the council assessments and is subject to formal council approval.
All development projects will undertake an initial feasibility assessment, which will consider the requirements of each development in order to produce a defined scope (this includes community engagement processes); and include appropriate legal, financial and strategic due diligence in respect of each development.
Willis Bond will be asked to assist with this process to provide council with expert and experienced support and assistance to ensure the developments not only meet community expectations for quality and design, but are also able to deliver value for money, and are fit for purpose.
Council retains decision-making responsibility as in more traditional procurement processes.
The partnership agreement establishes processes to advance negotiations on each development project individually. Each development is subject to further council approval.
The ten councillors and the mayor ultimately hold the decision-making role for all developments.
The partnering agreement ensures that council will receive the information to be confident investment decisions are in line with the commitment to the community, including commitments of sensible sustainable investment decisions. The following flow chart provides an overview of the decision-making process.
Partnering agreement negotiation process (216kb pdf)
Ensuring wider local benefits from the Heart of the City Programme
Alongside the outcomes to create a safe, vibrant and successful city centre, it is important to council to promote and foster the economic involvement of the Tauranga region in developments.
Willis Bond have committed to, wherever reasonably possible and commercially viable, contract with suppliers, contractors and other businesses in and around Tauranga.
Last Reviewed: 06/01/2020