Commissioners have declined an application by the owner of the Harcourts building on Wellington's Lambton Quay to demolish it because of earthquake strengthening costs.
The commissioners, appointed by the Wellington City Council, heard submissions over four days in December.
They released their decision on Monday.
The owner, Mark Dunajtschik, applied for consent to have the building demolished and for all demolition activities such as the removal of debris and protection hoardings.
The commissioners' report concludes the building can't be destroyed because its heritage value is too great for the city and the region.
It also says the building does not need to be strengthened to 100% of the National Building Standard and the owner should consider strengthening to less than that.