New lease of life for BNZ building

A grand old dame of the Dunedin streetscape is being brought back to life by a Dunedin law firm.

The historic Bank of New Zealand Building at the corner of Rattray and Princes Sts, in the Exchange, will, come June, be home to commercial law firm Van Aart Sycamore Lawyers, after the company bought the building and is having it renovated.

Firm directors Michael Van Aart and Tony Sycamore said they were looking for permanent premises and the building's location, natural light and character had appealed.

Mr Sycamore said he expected the building would be ''a really nice place to work''.

The location was also great. Buildings around the Exchange area were filling up with commercial tenants, in what was historically the commercial heart of Dunedin.

The company was strengthening the building from 67% of code to 100%, and installing full fire sprinkler systems throughout, as well as renovating and fitting out new offices, while retaining the heritage features of the building preserved by previous owner Ted Daniels, he said.

''It's quite cool for a building that didn't have a use for such a long time.''

The work included painting the outside of the building, securing parapets and installing a replica of an original external door long since removed.

''Basically, we're making it relevant for another 50 years plus.''

The company's 14 staff would be based on the first floor, and once they had moved in the firm hoped to find tenants for the other three floors.

The bank chamber would be tidied up and left vacant in the meantime, separated from the entrance and lifts by a glass wall.

''It's just a neat old building. We are looking forward to being in here.''

Mr van Aart said it was great to be involved in bringing back to life what had been a dead corner for more than 10 years.

''It's cool to be a part of this.''

The company was working closely with the Dunedin City Council and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust on the refurbishment.


I was down in that area yesterday and was so happy to see the building being saved from a slow demise.  It sounds like an excellent renovation treatment.  I hope when it is completed the owner will let us see inside.

If only the old General Post Office could be saved from deterioration and renovated to become useful again.  It gets talked about, every so often someone come forward with great plans that then come to nothing.

May Van Aart Sycamore has started a trend. Nice work!

New owners

At last! Real private investment in Dunedin. So refreshing after watching the  DCC and associates waste millions of ratepayer dollars on vanity projects over the past 6-7 years. All the very best to the new owners and their beautiful building. 


What a great idea

Van Aart Sycamore Lawyers are to be congratulated on their foresight and public conscience. The building is beautiful. And while it will be costly to restore, it should provide an outstanding office for many years to come.

Being in the Exchange area makes it all the more appealing as it helps revitalise this picturesque area.

Congratulations gentlemen, and let's hope your firm grows in strength and esteem.

Great news for the BNZ building

Best wishes to Tony and Michael for their hard work in getting this beautiful old building open and full of life again. Would have to be one of the most iconic buildings in the city. Can't wait for the opening and as an ex BNZ employee, I'm excited.

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