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

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Movable feasts 3: and the feast goes on

As I promised earlier, here is a full accounting of changes in the Wellington hospitality market over the last year or so. Rather than create a totally new map with just the changes since my August version, I've decided to update it to reflect the net changes since my first map in August 2005. That keeps a fixed baseline at my first survey and gives a broader picture of the long-term trends. So here it is (click for a larger version), with red dots for openings, blue for closures and purple for closures that are set to reopen shortly.

The first thing that stands out is that there are many more openings than closures: 30 compared to 5, for a net increase of 25 establishments in just under eighteen months. A large proportion of the openings are slightly away from the Golden Mile, which is not surprising given the low vacancies there, with quite a few on the waterfront and along Wakefield St. There's also a tight cluster around Waring Taylor St, mostly takeaways and coffee outlets, perhaps driven by a drift north of hungry 9-to-5ers.

Of course, it's hard to equate the loss of a revered institution like Il Casino with the gain of a kebab house or a clothes shop selling coffee and muffins. But the openings included at least ten proper bars, cafés and restaurants, so as well as a trend towards lots of little daytime cafés, there's still a gradual increase in the more serious hospitality market. So that you can check my calculations, here's the full list, with the "openings" further broken down into the revival of vacant dining venues, retailers doing coffee on the side, and brand new spaces that were previously retail, office or non-existent.
Re-opened (red)
The Ambeli
Café La-La (ex-Svago between Leeds & Eva St)
Crazy Horse
Green Room (former Shed 5 functions room)
Kaffee Eis (Frank Kitts)
Siem Reap (Dixon St version)
St Johns

Retailer also serving coffee/food (red)
Café 181
de Nada
Meat on Tory
Milk Crate
Offbeat Originals

Opened (red)
Burger Fuel
Centre of Gravity
Cube Bakery & Café (cnr Webb & Taranaki)
Fuel (Waring Taylor St )
Gallery Deli (The Terrace)
Gloria Jean's
The Immigrant's Son
Ka Pai
The Lanes
Midland Sushi
Mojo Factory
Mojo Summit
One Red Dog Kumutoto
Rawhide (Frank Kitts)
Waitangi Park Café

Closed (blue)
Bar 155
Higher Taste
Il Casino

Pending (purple)
Butlers Chocolate Café (ex-Kopi)
General Practitioner (ex-Bouquet Garni)
There are more changes on the way, of course. The Malthouse is about to shift to Courtenay Place, the Holiday Inn will open early next year, and Chaffers Dock will be full of restaurants. The old Santa Fe premises are still being used in at least one form (that's a hint for the mystery bar, folks!), but there are rumours that its building might not be around for long. The Chews Lane and Wellington Hotel developments are steaming along, and of course there's a whole village of pretty cottages at the top of Cuba St that'll be perfect for Devonshire teas now that those pesky anarchists are out of the way. On the other hand, there may be a slew of businesses on their last legs, and the holiday season often shakes out the less robust operators. Watch this space.


At 4:16 pm, December 21, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

I wasn't sure whether to include Plum as a closure, since the signs in the window said that it was just undergoing a refurbishment. But from what I've seen since, it looks quite different: in fact, rather Mojo-like!

At 12:36 am, December 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I popped into Plum this evening for a drink, and yes it is very similar to Mojo in its coffee, food & drink options, not to mention the style of fitout!

However, the coffee is supplied by the good folks at People's Coffee. Only $3, none of that $3.3 nonsense at Mojo.

We joked that it didn`t feel as relaxed and casual as before, the pre-war Euro styling of the fitout made you sit up straight and talk about Kafka and Wagner...still, was nice.

At 9:27 am, December 22, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Wow, you guys are quick! Yes, it has good reasons to look Mojoesque, but while I like Mojo I'd have to say I'm glad it hasn't turned out to be yet another one. I've just written a full post about it here.

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