Facts & Figures

  • $77.6mNet costs of whole proposal

  • $22.4mFrom ground lease income and external funding

  • $59mTown Hall strengthening

  • $16.8mLibrary and office earthquake strengthening

  • $10.6mCivic Square public space improvements

Civic Square is an important centre of Wellington’s civic and cultural life. It provides a gateway from the central city to the waterfront, houses several important cultural institutions, such as the central library, City Gallery and Town Hall.

Woman sitting and using computer on astro-turf at Civic Square

Since its creation in 1992, building standards have increased. Several of the square’s buildings now require strengthening to bring them close to modern earthquake standards.

This creates an opportunity to refurbish and revitalise the square, opening it up to a wider range of uses and improving links with surrounding buildings and streets to make the square more lively and attractive.

The Town Hall is currently closed pending a decision on how best to fund its strengthening. An aim of the proposal is to offset some of the costs that would otherwise fall to ratepayers.

Key aspects of the plan

  • Earthquake strengthening the Wellington Town Hall, the Wellington City Library, the office buildings currently occupied by the Council, and possibly the Capital E space.
  • The potential to establish a national music hub in the Wellington Town Hall and Michael Fowler Centre. A partnership is being explored between the Council, Victoria University and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra that would allow the refurbished Town Hall to be used as a performance and recording venue.
  • Upgrading Civic Square and improving links with surrounding streets.
  • Possible "opening up" of building ground floors so that cafes and shops can open on to the square, and people can more easily see into the square from surrounding streets.
  • Leasing Jack Ilott Green and the Michael Fowler Centre car park to allow construction of new buildings – with income used to offset earthquake strengthening costs.
  • Making the Municipal Office Building available for lease.
  • Making more efficient use of Council office space – reducing space to current benchmarks.


  • Strengthening of the Town Hall and other significant buildings.
  • Enhance Wellington’s reputation as a centre of music performance and recording.
  • Revitalise public spaces, making them more attractive, and bringing in more people and a wider variety of uses.


  • The net costs of the whole proposal is budgeted at $77.6 million.
  • As this proposal includes the lease of land and involves Civic Square, a strategic asset, it is required to have its own statement of proposal. If you want to know more, please refer to the separate appendix to this plan.
  • The long-term ground lease income and external funding are budgeted to contribute $22.4 million to the project
  • The cost of the Town Hall Strengthening is budgeted at $58.4 million. Other costs include $16.8 million for earthquake strengthening the library and office building, Civic Square public space improvements $10.6 million, and $14.1 million for service separation costs and conversion of the remaining office building to an efficient workplace.

What you think

67% Feedback received that supports our overall plan

99 Number of times people have told us what they think about this idea

77% Feedback received that supports this idea

#5 Out of 28 ideas based on amount of feedback received.

Who would benefit most?

27% Local residents
26% Visitors to Wellington
19% Future generations
18% Local businesses
10% NZ as a whole
  • Local residents
  • Local businesses
  • Visitors to Wellington
  • NZ as a whole
  • Future generations
  • Other

How should we prioritise it?

39% Quite high
30% Neutral
21% High
6% Quite low
3% Low
  • Quite low
  • Low
  • Neutral
  • Quite high
  • High
  • Alison

    Civic Square is a treasure, and the way the City to Sea bridge connects it to the waterfront - fabulous. Yes, please, earthquake strengthen existing buildings, but don't try and 'offset' costs by leasing the right to build on Jack Illott Green. No, its not a well-used space BUT importantly it provides a feeling of spaciousness, and great view-lines out to and connectedness with the harbour, which means any building taller than one storey will get in the way. A performing music centre in the town hall and MFC: great. Cafes around the Square - sure. Keep it vibrant and lively.

  • Fred, Island Bay

    The music hub sounds great, if it pans out as described. But I do have issues with upgrading Civic Square. I feel too often places like this (and for example Frank Kitts Park) are 'upgraded' for the sake of it. Civic Square works just fine as it is. Can we please stop spending money where it isn't needed to be spent?

  • john, Wellington Central

    Great idea. Its had a Green cricket square there which has been a hit with the kids these last few weeks and there is always some fair or music show put on it to improve its use

  • Anne, Wadestown

    It's a beautiful space and design and I'd like to see it utilized to the full. It's a space I take my international visitors to, especially the Para Matchitt bridge. That's phenomenal along with the nikau palms.

  • Michael, Hataitai

    The 'Music Hub' concept would certain provide added value to the Town Hall, moving it away from a 'conference centre' towards an actual cultural treasure that it utilized for its proper purpose: as one of the great acoustic venues in New Zealand. Moreover, it houses the only fit-for-purpose chamber music venue in Wellington.

  • Anonymous, Mount Victoria

    It sounds great. I want to cast a vote in support for keeping the City Gallery going strong- it's an asset to that area and one of the best contemporary art galleries I've seen, from a large selection. I love the creative use of space in Civic square & I love what people use it for now - it's somewhat reflective & more refined & sophisticated as a result. I'd hate to see that completely spoiled with masses of people.

  • Lindsay

    First priority must be to strengthen and reopen the beautiful Town Hall. It's dreadful that the council has allowed it to be closed for so long. (Its unique acoustics are recognised internationally.) Whatever lease arrangements are made, the Town Hall must continue to be available for major concerts.

  • Em, Newtown

    This end of town needs more cafes and life. The civic square is currently wasted space - unless there is an event of some kind, it is not used. Opening up the ground floors of the surrounding centres and planting cafes, as well as providing better links into the streets, will help to bring some life into the area.