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Published: 2009-01-23 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has announced it is buying a Hamilton East property at no additional cost to ratepayers and with a view to saving money over the long term.

Chief financial officer Mike Garrett said the land and property on the corner of Grey and Cook streets were identified as being suitable for a new building, should the council decide to further investigate the option of new purpose-built premises in or near Hamilton sometime in the future.

The buildings and land include the Eastside Tavern and Liquorland premises, plus associated commercial car parks. The land is adjacent to Environment Waikato’s current offices on Grey St.

The purchase price of $3.8 million will be funded by internal borrowings at the rate of interest that would be earned if the money had been invested in fixed term deposits.

Rentals from businesses plus the fact that Environment Waikato would no longer have to pay for use of the car parks meant the purchase would be "cost neutral" overall.

"This strategic purchase of land will effectively pay for itself and will involve no additional extra costs for ratepayers."

Over the past two years Environment Waikato has explored a range of accommodation options to help improve efficiencies and reduce costs. One option is the construction of a new building.

The council’s 380 staff are currently housed in three buildings in Hamilton East.

 "By reducing the number of offices, the council expects it would achieve a range of productivity gains, and reduced maintenance and other costs."

If Environment Waikato decides not to build on the site, the purchase remains a sound strategic investment owing to the desirability of the property’s location and size.