Victoria Lane Apartments have been designed to withstand a 1-in-1000-year earthquake – 10-fold more than conventionally-built high-rise buildings.

Construction is nearing completion on Willis Bond’s $140 million Victoria Lane Apartments, the first base-isolated apartment building to be constructed in Wellington, with residents expecting to start moving in in March.

Victoria Lane Apartments was one of the first development projects started in Wellington following the country’s first Covid lockdown in 2020. Construction on the 14,000 square metre project began in August 2020 and, despite Covid restrictions, was completed within the anticipated two-and-a-half-year time frame.

Willis Bond managing director (development), David McGuinness, says the project’s 2023 completion marks a significant milestone for Willis Bond, which this year celebrates its 35th anniversary.

“We’re proud to deliver Victoria Lane Apartments as Wellington’s first base-isolated residential development, of which all but two apartments have been sold. This demonstrates Wellingtonians’ support for residential developments of this calibre in the central city.”

Victoria Lane Apartments is the largest base-isolated residential building in New Zealand. It is founded on 124 driven piles and incorporates 24 base isolators that effectively separate the building’s superstructure from the ground. This is complemented by the building’s diagrid structure – a diagonal grid of steel that wraps around the building for extra strength.

The building is designed to withstand a 1-in-1,000-year earthquake, compared to conventionally built high-rise buildings, which are generally designed to withstand 1-in-100-year seismic events.

“Purchasers have resonated with the base-isolation technology as it gives them the peace-of-mind they need to enjoy premium apartment living in the city,” says McGuinness.

McGuinness also says that the same “gold standard in seismic resilience” will be delivered as part of Willis Bond’s next planned residential development, which is to be located on the corner of Buckle and Tasman Streets, and is aptly named One Tasman – Pukeahu Park.

“We’ve learnt a lot over the last three years delivering this project, and we’re excited to take those lessons with us to our next project which will offer the same level of seismic resilience set within a unique historic, park environment.”

Victoria Lane Apartments is made up of 123 premium one, two and three-bedroom apartments, as well as 3,240 square metres of base-isolated office space and ground floor retail spaces.

Located at 161 Victoria Street, the highly resilient mixed-use development is situated in the heart of Wellington’s Cuba precinct.

The development is part of Willis Bond’s wider Cuba precinct rejuvenation project. The project includes the creation of the state-of-the-art educational facility Te Auaha and the redevelopment of the former Farmers building and two adjoining properties on Cuba Street, which are together now known as 100 Cuba Street and are home to Greater Wellington Regional Council. Victoria Lane Apartments can be accessed by a newly created pedestrian laneway which provides accessibility and security for residents.

Victoria Lane Apartments were designed by Athfield Architects Limited (AAL), with structural design by Dunning Thornton Consultants (DTC), and construction was undertaken by LT McGuinness.