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

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Building rumours 6: 24-34 Taranaki St

Brendon Motors site at 24-34 Taranaki St - adapted from DeepRed's photo at http://s79.photobucket.com/albums/j132/deepred6502/Wellington%20-%20A%20City%20In%20Progress/?action=view&current=P1010153.jpgIt's been a bit quiet on the building rumours front for a while, but here's something new. The Brendon Motors site at 24-34 Taranaki St has long seemed ripe for development, and now Deep Red (from whom I nicked this photo) has a picture of the site labelled "Land Equity Group Building, possible requisition of adjacent space".

The Land Equity Group Building (officially "182 on Wakefield") is the one on the right, above the Green Parrot. They're the developers behind the Watermark apartments across the road, and I've heard some speculation that they may have purchased the Brendon Motors site simply to preserve views for the Watermark. That seems a little unlikely, since given the 43.8m height limits in the area there's little that anything on the site could block beyond that which is already blocked by 182 on Wakefield.

Perhaps the time has finally come to knock down the Brendon Motors building and build the apartment development that this site is clearly suited for? I could envisage some creative uses of the 75% volume rule in the proposed new Central Area rules, maximising sun and views while creating something more interesting than a rectangular block. Even if that doesn't happen, it would require a real talent for ugliness to design something worse than the back end of the James Smith carpark.

Adding further fuel to the speculation is the fact that the other tenants of the existing building have moved around the corner to Dixon St, shocking the locals with their rather more public lewdness. That could purely been to take advantage of a more prominent site (Santa Fe's owner says that business is better in the new location), or it could have been forced upon them by impending demolition. Does anyone know for sure what's going to happen here? And while I'm digging for rumours, does anyone know whether Endup still exists?


At 1:54 pm, December 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Santa Fe's move to Dixon St. What ever happened to the council's grand proposal to ban strip clubs on the Golden Mile after the Mermaids brouhaha?

In terms of adding some opinion, it is pretty nasty to have a strip club, with its assorted nude posters advertising visiting playboys and the like sitting on the bus stop right opposite Reading's where families drop their kids to go to movies and such. Some people seem to think it's a great thing, look at Soho etc. but Wellington isn't London, it doesn't have 10 entertainment districts which can suit all flavours. I've no problem with them being located on the streets off the Golden Mile, but where do others draw the line, and as a man of respectable opinions, how do you feel about this issue Tom?

At 4:40 pm, December 06, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

> What ever happened to the council's grand proposal to ban strip clubs on the Golden Mile after the Mermaids brouhaha?

I think it only applies to Courtenay Place, not the whole Golden Mile (if you dig through the bylaws and district plan on the council website, you might be able to confirm that), so Dixon St isn't covered (so to speak).

If I were cynical, I could say that the council at the time (Mayor you-know-who) were driven by the developers of Courtenay Central, who had a grand vision of a family-friendly Courtenay Place, compared to what had been a fairly adult-centred nightlife district before then.

Generally, I'd prefer it if such establishments stayed in the Cuba/Vivian area, but more because I like the idea of identifiable quarters with their own character, including a red-light district. I'm glad (and perhaps surprised!) that you consider me "a man of respectable opinions", but I'd have to say that any objection I have to Golden Mile sex premises is more about the loss of Vivian St's seedy edge than worrying about scaring the kiddies.

The new Santa Fe is pretty damn brazen and tacky, though, even compared to Mermaids.

At 4:56 pm, December 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a man of even less respecteble opinions than Tom , I'd have to say that the worst thing about hving tittie bars on the main drag is that it's hard to sneak in and outof them!! Nevermind, at least i'll be able to sit in hope bros and get an eyeful!

At 5:33 pm, December 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are poles in the windows, yeah. According to the owner in a Dom-Post article (so caveat lector, they might have just made it up), all dancers on those poles are "fully clothed".

At 10:12 am, December 07, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Erm, Anon 2, you're lowering the tone (and spelling standards). Perhaps you misinterpreted my comment about "the loss of Vivian St's seedy edge". I was referring to the days of Carmen and Chrissy Witoko, when the red-light district had an air of transgression and demimondaine otherness, not defending the tackily exploitative nature of today's sex business.

Anon 3: I doubt that "fully clothed" means they're wearing polonecks, overcoats and galoshes, but while I haven't seen anyone dancing in the windows so can't say for sure, I'd guess that you'll probably see more on a Motorola billboard.

At 3:06 pm, December 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like Taranaki St is the Rue de jour,
There was something in the Dom this week about the Williams and Adams building (next to the bungy place) being bought and scheduled for demolition and replacement with some form of Apartments,

At 10:08 pm, December 10, 2006, Blogger Kath said...

I've heard from local builders that that site is going to be apartments, and the site opposite (currently wakefield markets) is earmarked for a hotel (from the dompost)

it seems like currently everything being built in the city centre are either hotels or apartments

At 9:16 am, December 11, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Kath: thanks for the rumours! Yes, the Wakefield markets site will become The Watermark apartment and boutique hotel complex, the the hotel itself will be mostly in the John Chambers building (Rialto) next door.

It looks like there's still pent-up demand for city living and hotels. The city and fringe grew by about 7000 people in the last 5 years, and based upon planned new developments, it looks like another 3000 are on the way very soon.

Now they just need to start working up Taranaki St and start replacing some of those godawful car yards and big box retailers...

At 10:42 am, December 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the car yards and big-boxes can't be moved, then they could always be built on top of, if the Marion Square Apartments are anything to go by. Now that's multi-use.

At 1:18 pm, December 11, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Deepred: "If the car yards and big-boxes can't be moved, then they could always be built on top of"

Exactly. Even if they can't be literally built on top of (like the Skybox, or Galleria on Tory above Harvey Norman), the site can be redeveloped and the same or similar premises can occupy the new ground floor. There's certainly nothing to stop a Briscoes or video hire shop or a car dealership operating out of the ground floor of an apartment or office building.

At 1:48 pm, December 11, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Kath: "it seems like currently everything being built in the city centre are either hotels or apartments"

Up to a point: that point being approximately Chews Lane. My map of upcoming residential developments shows that the Holiday Inn is the only one north of that point, and my map of new office developments shows that apart from a couple of renovations, all the new office buildings are north of there. So yes, in the CBD fringe and Te Aro, pretty much all the development is residential, and in the CBD, Thorndon and Harbour Quays, it's all office space. Of course, most of those developments would also include a retail or hospitality component.

At 1:47 pm, January 28, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

A quick update: the old Santa Fe premises are still being advertised as a hospitality site, so it would seem there are no immediate plans to demolish.


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