WellUrban

Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The end of Palazzo Rosa?

The Il Casino building for saleYou'll probably have read in the Dominion Post and on the Wellingtonista about Remiro Bresolin's terminal illness. As Rodger mentioned, the greatest loss will obviously be to his family, but any Wellingtonian who appreciates our lively dining scene will feel a debt to Cavaliere Bresolin for bringing a touch of Carnevale to our town.

He brought Wellington its first taste of pizza, and its first 2am license. At one stage, Il Casino was serving more Champagne than anywhere else in the country. His legacy will live on, both through his example and through his family's ongoing commitment to true hospitality at Boulot and Scopa, but one vital aspect of his work is under threat: the Il Casino building itself.

The Dominion Post article says:

Mr Bresolin's Il Casino was closed in April for a six-month refurbishment. But with 70 per cent of the work done and reopening set for November, the 30-year-old business is on the market as the family assesses its options.

I think I speak for many of us when I hope that it can either stay within the family or be taken over by a restaurateur with the same commitment to quality and good times. I'd like to think that, with earthquake strengthening nearly complete, any new owners would be unlikely to throw that all away by tearing the building down. But the site is being advertised for its potential for "maximum redevelopment", and given the district plan, that means a 27 metre height limit.

We would not only lose a handsome pair of buildings and the city's best trompe l'oeil mural, but also miss a potential focal point for "SoCo" and the memory of 30 years of la dolce vita. There are plenty of sites in Te Aro that could (and should) be redeveloped before this one. Knock down a Briscoes or build on an open-air car yard, but leave us "Palazzo Rosa".

13 Comments:

At 2:58 PM, July 31, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

schemes have already been drawn up for redevelopment .....

 
At 3:26 PM, July 31, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Aargh, that would be terrible! And have you seen what they're going to build on the Settlement site in Willis St?

 
At 4:49 PM, July 31, 2006, Blogger P-Style said...

One suspects that anonymous might be associated with the consents team att he city council . . .

ntnqrp

 
At 5:58 PM, July 31, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No way! The cynic in me can only imagine- the corrugated iron clad appartment building with a tussock garden at the front. Arg! Why get rid of something so iconic? I love this part of Wellington, this area is just starting to take on a life of its own...I agree- terrible!

 
At 7:45 PM, July 31, 2006, Blogger Maximus said...

Tom - what ARE they going to build in Willis St? Is there a website or link to it? (umm, and where is the Settlement?).

And does anonymous 1 or 2 (or is that the same one?) have any link to what might be happening in Il Casino? I'd like to know ! But is suspect that the mural, cute as it may be, is a sitting duck for a building - although, hopefully not as tacky as the Galleria...

 
At 9:00 PM, July 31, 2006, Blogger Alan said...

Il Casino is one of those places for the big occasion - like mine: I proposed to my wife in there (possibly like half of married Wellington, I suspect). It would be a shame to lose it.

 
At 9:44 AM, August 01, 2006, Blogger Jo Hubris said...

Half of married Wellington has proposed to your wife, Alan?

I joke because it helps numb the pain. A little. I don't think I've ever been to Il Casino, except for once as a kid and now I am sad that I'll never have the chance to.

 
At 10:20 AM, August 01, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Maximus: the Settlement is a wooden two-storey building across the road from Willis St Village and up the street a bit. It's an important little part of Wellington's culinary, artistic and architectural history: Harry Seresin had a restuarant there, and Peter Bevan designed a small addition to the original colonial building.

I haven't seen any websites about the development, but there were some posters in the windows for a few days last week to advertise the apartments there. The street elevation shows a huge, wide block, stretching from immediately next to Roti right up to Mojo Invincible, and though I didn't count the floors, I think it's between 10 and 14 storeys.

The bulk alone is bad enough, but they've a bunch of faux-historical details on the top. The Stratford (across the road, by the same developer from the looks of things) is bad enough, but it at least has the advantage of relative slenderness. I wonder how many of the Arch Centre's manifesto points this would fail?

 
At 7:02 PM, August 01, 2006, Blogger Maximus said...

How many points? Well, first up: is it better than what it replaces? By the sounds of it, a definite No...
So then we bring in point 7: Bad building must be eliminated.... there you go. Problem sorted. Now we just need the council to take it on as their mantra....

 
At 7:04 PM, August 01, 2006, Blogger Maximus said...

and re the first anon comment.... not sure how many of the Councils consents team read this blog.... but i know a lot of architects do... come out of the shadows, you with the black poloneck and that shaven head....

 
At 10:12 AM, August 18, 2006, Blogger bambi said...

I knwo this si a late post in regards to this post Tom,I found your picture on flicker..i like your site it is very cool.I am sad about Il Casino,I just read about it a few days ago as I have moved to Dunedin recently. I am so sad!! I have decided to wear all black for the next 5 weeks (i will be home for the break at that time)so I can mourn Il Casino and the slow death of my soul...here in Dunedin. Where a girl can't even find a decent coffee or pair of heels let alone a establishment that even compares to Il Casino.

 
At 2:25 AM, December 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am certain that the family would have considered everything before making the decision to sell.

Everything changes.

 
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