WellUrban

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

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Chews three

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Retail space has been tight in Wellington for quite some time, especially along the Golden Mile. That's led to some retailers worrying about being "forced out of the CBD" by high rents, and while some are certainly having to move away from Lambton Quay and Willis St, that's not entirely a bad thing. Rather than retailers being shoved out to the suburbs, it seems that the formerly grey side streets and adjacent thoroughfares are starting to fill in and liven up. Wellington's always had the reputation for being "one street deep", but that's becoming less and less true.

Perhaps one culprit for the lack of retail space has been that, while demand has been increasing, a few big developments have taken some tenancies off the market during construction. At the other end of town, The Wellington has done that for a while, but life is gradually starting to trickle back into upper Cuba St. The Chews Lane project, while it promises a whole new retail street, has taken a big chunk of Willis St out of action for what seems like years. Now, with the release of Retail Stage Three, we can get a first look at the sort of shops that will open here.

Chews Lane stage three retail planThere's not much really exciting here: Farrys and Area 51 are relocating from elsewhere in town, and I'm perhaps betraying my ignorance and/or snobbery now, but does Staxs really count as a "high-quality fashion store"? I'm not really familiar with Identity and Vincent, so perhaps they'll be more interesting.

It's the food and beverage outlets, which apart from the unnamed "Gastro Bar" have yet to be confirmed, which will make or break the Lane itself as a public space. It certainly sounds like they're aiming for a wide range, from takeaways and coffee to brunch and wine. Together with some improvements to Victoria St (including what sounds like an improved intersection), these eight tenancies could make Chews Lane a good connector from the Golden Mile to the Library and waterfront, as well as a destination in its own right, when they open up next year. But will they make up for the loss of the Malthouse balcony?

21 Comments:

At 9:27 PM, May 08, 2007, Blogger Zippy Gonzales said...

Box shops and food court. Woohoo! Wellington's first inner-city mall. I can't wait til the Warehouse moves into James Smiths.

 
At 8:52 AM, May 09, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

I'm not sure what you mean by "box shops": shops that sell boxes? Shops that look like boxes?

I don't think anything there would count as a food court, since it's an outdoor street and there's no shared seating area for takeaways. If this will be a mall then Woodward St and the Left Bank would have to count as malls as well.

We do already have inner city malls (ex-BNZ foodcourt, Lambton Square, Capital n the Quay), but even if some of the retail is pretty ho-hum and there's a sushi shop or whatever, this should be very different.

 
At 12:37 PM, May 09, 2007, Anonymous che tibby said...

i'm interested to see how the place populates both with shops and people.

i've got a suspicion that wellington winters had better we properly addressed, just to make the place work.

that said, every time the wind drops to manageable levels (like today), wellingtonians are out in force.

so... there could be a good little vibe happening in there. and i think it deserves a name. i volunteer...

"chews life".

 
At 3:19 PM, May 09, 2007, Anonymous Simon said...

Che, you missed your true calling as an international brand guru, forget policy and its grey shoes and cardi and buy a shiny suit and tie and a fair handful of Brillcreme.....

 
At 3:35 PM, May 09, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

"i'm interested to see how the place populates both with shops and people.

i've got a suspicion that wellington winters had better we properly addressed, just to make the place work."

It looks from the renderings to be a very sheltered lane, so it should do a lot better in the winter than some other parts of town.

>i think it deserves a name. i volunteer...

> "chews life".

Great minds etc: http://wellurban.blogspot.com/2006/09/chews-life.html

:-)

 
At 3:42 PM, May 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zippy - the Warehouse moving to James Smith? Tell us it isn't so....

 
At 3:52 PM, May 09, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

Last thing I heard, the Warehouse had found another inner-city site but weren't letting on. The James Smith buildings are currently for sale, and it would seem strange for the Warehouse to move into a building that could be sold underneath them. Having said that, it might not be the worst site: Rebel Sport normally has big ugly boxes in the suburbs, but here they've managed to tuck themselves away and not dominate the street.

The warehouse would probably want to build a big red shed of their own on a clean site, but I wonder about the old Manthell Motors (recently Java Downunder) building on the corner of Taranaki and Wakefield. It's been undergoing a slow but major refit, and it's certainly a large space. I think it may have even been the site of the first Wellington Warehouse many years ago?

 
At 5:40 PM, May 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI TOM-
Your site has started crashing in Safari everytime I try to open it. It's never happened until today and now like clockwork, it get's 95% loaded and then safari crashes. Been reading everyday on Safari, so don't know why now...

 
At 7:18 PM, May 09, 2007, Anonymous AdamNZ said...

"FYI TOM-
Your site has started crashing in Safari everytime I try to open it. It's never happened until today and now like clockwork, it get's 95% loaded and then safari crashes. Been reading everyday on Safari, so don't know why now..."

http://tinyurl.com/w22sw ;)

 
At 8:52 PM, May 09, 2007, Anonymous che tibby said...

so much for originality...

 
At 8:38 AM, May 10, 2007, Blogger Hadyn said...

I hope we go kind of different with Chews Lane's food options. Chews lane was not all that nice previously so why not get food to reflect that now.

I propose tiny little skewer bars! ala Tokyo

photo

 
At 8:50 AM, May 10, 2007, Anonymous gemma said...

I propose tiny little skewer bars! ala Tokyo

Ooooh yes!

 
At 9:15 AM, May 10, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

"Your site has started crashing in Safari everytime I try to open it."

Sorry about that: the only thing I can think of is the embedded ZoomIn map on my "ten of the best" post. If that link crashes your browser, but others without the map don't, then that's probably the problem.

In that case, it should be sorted now, as we've fixed some Javascript bugs that were affecting Safari (and some obscure browser called IE) when we brought in the cadastral layers. If there's still a problem, let me know, because it might be some obscure part of Blogger that's doing it.

 
At 9:29 AM, May 10, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

Hadyn: oh yes! Maybe we can get Kazu to set up a little stall there?

The developers aren't being too explicit about what they want there (which is good, I think), but the brochure (2.7MB PDF) suggests that the Lane should be a place for:

- The morning coffee fix
- Breakfast or lunch meetings
- Weekend brunch
- Takeaway sandwiches, sushi and lunches
- A catch-up afternoon tea
- An after-work glass of wine
- An evening meal

There's bound to be a chain or two among all that, but I hope there'll be at least a handful of completely new and unique outlets.

 
At 2:43 PM, May 10, 2007, Anonymous Simon said...

I hear that ACC may be moving into the Manthel Motors building, but why a department that requires stringent security measures and needs to control their engagement with the public wants to occupy a fantastic retail frontage is beyond me....

Did anyone say Chew Tiki? Just the place for a tiny hole in the wall tiki bar…..

 
At 7:27 PM, May 10, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

You know the answer - do as we did 12 or so years ago - shift from Wellie to the mainland - that way you get to go "home" and visit every now and then but are also able to help another city get to the dizzying cosmopolitan heights that Wellington has achieved - or thats the plan anyway

 
At 5:58 PM, May 11, 2007, Blogger Seamonkey Madness said...

Simon,

Correct - ACC are moving in. They are currently working on the disabled accessway at the moment.

And yes, in total agreement. There are (were) big glass windows there for a reason!

 
At 1:27 AM, May 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm not really familiar with Identity and Vincent, so perhaps they'll be more interesting."

I have no idea about Vincent, but there is an Identity in Queensgate Mall. It doesn't look very interesting there, and just for the fact that it exists in Queensgate, it probably falls under the same category as Staxs.

 
At 8:13 PM, May 15, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"maybe they'll make up for the loss of the Malthouse balcony" ??? Umm, that's odd. The Malthouse has gone, but the balcony is the only bit that's left! well, ok, not quite in a usable state, but it looks like it'll be back. Question is: why bother? Architecturally it looks like a terrible old sham - i can't believe it was really original - and why don't they just take it down and stick it in a box somewhere for the next year or two, and then plonk it back on later? Its got bugger all architectural integrity anyway with the building gone from behind.....

 
At 10:21 AM, May 16, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

Yes, I should have been clearer. The balcony is being retained, but clearly it won't be "the Malthouse balcony" any more, and in fact since the floor that opens out onto the balcony will now be an office floor, it will no longer be a place for the public to drink in the sun.

 
At 4:29 PM, May 16, 2007, Blogger Joanna said...

it will no longer be a place for the public to drink in the sun.

Maybe it should be! Once the building's open, we should do some reconnissance, then learn how to spell, then all arrive enmasse with booze and sit on the balconey and drink it! Viva la freedom!

 

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