Our story

With ambitious aspirations to grow both in size and influence, 320 The Terrace is an important space for our University’s future.

The site at 320 The Terrace has considerable potential. Its location at the crossroads of the central city, Te Aro and Kelburn provides the University with a rare opportunity to grow, and to strengthen connections to Wellington

The site is currently occupied by the Gordon Wilson Flats and the McLean Flats, both of which are abandoned. The Gordon Wilson Flats is a large former state housing development that was completed in 1959. Structural issues were identified in 2011 and the building, then owned by Housing New Zealand, was deemed potentially earthquake prone. Residents of its 87 units were evacuated in May 2012.

In 2014, the University purchased the site occupied by the Gordon Wilson Flats from Housing NZ.

A District Plan change to rezone the site as ‘institutional precinct’ was considered at a Wellington City Council hearing in December 2015 and approved in April 2016, along with an application to delist the building as a heritage site. These changes would enable the University to provide improved educational and research facilities for the benefit of Wellington and New Zealand.

In 2017, the Council’s decision to delist the Gordon Wilson Flat’s heritage status was successfully challenged in the Environment Court.

In 2019, the University purchased the McLean Flats, which neighbour the Gordon Wilson Flats, from Housing NZ. The University did this to ensure it would be able to maximise the potential of the site. Wellington City Council designated the Gordon Wilson Flats as earthquake prone in June 2019.

In July 2019, the University began a year-long feasibility study to better understand the site and its potential.

The 2020 Te Huanui proposal included the construction of a dedicated pedestrian link between the city and Kelburn campus, as well as a lively and spacious outdoor plaza. True to its name, Te Huanui evoked both a pathway between the city and our Kelburn campus.

The University submission to the Proposed District Plan requesting the delisting of Gordon Wilson Flats from the District Plan heritage list was rejected by the Independent Hearings Panel. However, Wellington City Council voted that this recommendation be rejected and the final decision be referred to the relevant government minister.

The Te Huanui development option is no longer being pursued by Te Hiwa. The University is currently looking at other options for the use of the site, including student accommodation, in preparation for the Minister’s decision regards heritage de-listing.

If you’re interested in the history of this development, take a look at our timeline.