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".


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 phil_style said...

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


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 9:00 pm, July 31, 2006, Blogger Unknown 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 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 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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