An asbestos-riddled building once described as Auckland’s ugliest is set to be restored.

The Auckland Administration Building, or Civic Building as it’s known, sits on the edge of Aotea Square and has been used by the council since it was built in 1966.

It will be restored and the surrounding area developed under a private sector proposal designed to breathe life back into central Auckland.

It will feature residential apartments in the top floors with bars and restaurants at the bottom, and office space in between. A new apartment building on the corner of Mayoral Drive will be built, along with a hotel and a performance space.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown says Civic Quarter shows what is possible if we make the most of the opportunities we have with heritage buildings.

“With the population in the central city expected to double in the next 30 years, it’s essential we develop new accommodation options to make this a liveable city. This scheme is a fantastic way to achieve this. It’s all about making the most of the land and opportunities we have in a growing city.”

Twelve million dollars will have to be spent to remove the asbestos, which has plagued the building since the 1980s.

Tawera Group was announced today as the developer.

“It will blend an iconic Auckland landmark with cutting-edge design ensuring that the Aotea Quarter becomes a must-visit destination for all,” says Tawera Group principal John Love.

It was once Auckland’s tallest building, designed by Tibor Donner and opened in 1966.

It’s often featured in lists of Auckland’s ugliest buildings, but is also listed as a Category A heritage building.

It’s had a significant place in Auckland’s history, having been a seat for local government since it was built – until last year, when Auckland Council staff moved out and expressions of interest were sought for development.

Construction on the project is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2020.