Spruce-up for CBD ‘dress circle’


The Queenstown CBD is getting a spruce-up with a new $2 million building replacing three tired-looking premises.

Queenstown’s Davies family, headed up by prominent businessman Sir John Davies, is developing a building with three 90 square metre shops and upstairs offices in time for winter next year.

Family company Beach Street Holdings Ltd bought 23, 25 and 27 Beach Street for almost $10m about nine months ago.

The premises were about to fall over, director Mike Davies says — “we couldn’t modify them”.

His project manager Noel Saxon adds: “The current spaces are not well suited for tenants.”

The two-level premises most recently tenanted by Citizen Cafe, for example, are too narrow, he says.

The buildings will be demolished from January 18.

The new building has been designed by award-winning local architect Michael Wyatt, who says it’s a simple concept.

“It’s hard to embellish it and claim some great architectural theory that led to it.

“It’s got interest in the copper and stainless steel canopy, but apart from that it’s really just three shoe boxes with one side cut open.”

Wyatt says the local council’s urban design panel did the building a favour by asking the developer to break up the glass facade.

As a result it’s been “saw-toothed”, he says, to create “an interesting in-and-out edge to the street”.

Davies says the development “underpins the value of the buildings in Beach St, The Mall and Shotover St”.

He’s had huge leasing interest from New Zealand and international retailers, he says.

“We’ve had 26 expressions of interest, we’ve narrowed it down to four.”

The rental level, he adds, is about $1500 per square metre, which is standard for the CBD’s ‘dress circle’.

It’s hoped that the new building’s tenants will be able to start their fitouts in May.

Saxon says construction will require some night work, especially for concrete pours and lifting materials onto the site.

Working at night will minimise disruption to a narrow street during business hours.

The council has also allowed the developer to take over two carparks opposite the site during the construction period.