Bank exit prompts overhaul


Last year’s closure of Queenstown’s ANZ Bank branch in Beach Street has been the catalyst for a redevelopment of its former premises.

With the branch moving out to Frankton’s Five Mile, the Hanson family, who operate the large Aotea Souvenirs store next door, seized the opportunity to buy the building for $6.2 million.

The building - fronting both Beach and Shotover Sts - had been owned by a large Hong Kong-based Chinese property company.

“While the rest of New Zealand is stressing out about Chinese buying NZ property, we went the other way,” Queenstowner Richard Hanson says.

“They recognised they didn’t have the skills locally to develop it.”

The family’s property buy seems appropriate - not just because they’ve owned the store next door since the late 1980s, but because Hanson’s father Peter was an original developer, in the early 1990s, of the nearby Steamer Wharf complex.

“We’ve had a good understanding of how the foot traffic’s worked down this part of town.”

Cook Brothers is contracted to redevelop the property including adding a third level so it will be the same height as the Aotea Souvenirs building.

The new building’s expected to be completed by November.

The original ANZ Bank building was developed in the late 1980s by former Shotover Jet owners Trevor and Heather Gamble, and designed by local architect Michael Wyatt.

The building’s now been reduced to a structural shell and is being rebuilt to a design by local Warren and Mahoney principal Ian Adamson and his colleague Jeremy Dunlop.

The design features perforated steel screens on both the Beach and Shotover St facades, which provide solar control as well as visual interest.

On the Beach St side, Adamson says the building’s been designed “to address and enhance engagement” with Earnslaw Park and the street.

“The new street facades are designed to relate to a human scale, broken down to relate to the early laneways of Queenstown.”

Adamson adds the Shotover St side is no longer perceived as the secondary entry.

The local Colliers International branch, which is leasing the building, says the two retail tenancies facing Beach St are about 190 square metres and 150sq m each, but could be combined.

The tenancy facing Shotover St is 75sq m.

Hanson says he’s finalising a lease for the smaller Beach St space and there’s a range of interest in the larger area.

“We want to have tenants that draw people down to that part of the street in a way that is different from the ANZ Bank because they were basically shutting the door at 4.30 every night and turning the lights off.”

Hanson says Aotea Souvenirs will take some of the new top floor for office and storage space, freeing up more space for its retail operation next door.