High St emerging as hippest part of town
Property investors Mike Percasky, Richard Peebles, Kris Inglis and Bill Willis are pressing ahead with plans to reinvigorate Christchurch’s High Street following the success of their Little High Eatery development and restoration of the historic McKenzie & Willis building façade.
Their combined vision to transform the area, under the High Street Lanes banner, is now entering its next phase with the restoration and redevelopment of the Duncan’s Buildings into new boutique retail, hospitality, and office spaces. Leading work on the ground as main contractor is construction company Consortium Construction Ltd.
Originally built in 1905, the Duncan’s Buildings were badly damaged in the 2011 earthquakes. Crown company Otakaro later sold them to Duncan’s Lane Ltd, its proposal being to preserve and restore the historic façade and sympathetically rebuild new shop and office spaces behind it.
This work is now on track to be completed in the final quarter of 2018. To date, the beautiful old facade has been secured, propped and stabilised and the next step will be the demolition of the quakedamaged parts of the building behind it.
Restoration of the façade will involve a structural support on the inside along with external brick pointing, repairing plaster, detailing around windows and restoration work on the upper parapet. Old timber windows have been retained and repaired to add an extra touch of authenticity.
“It’s a labor of love and a big cost to protect and retain old facades like this, but they have such an amazing character and interesting history,” says Duncan’s Lane director Kris Inglis.
“There is a century of stories and more in
Buildings, which were originally designed as a series of boutique shops with accommodation above. The shops have always been unique and
occupied by a variety of small businesses including confectioners, fruiterers, butchers, furniture dealers and in more recent years, before the quakes, clothing
hospitality. We think there’s that niche in the market for historic fabric and keeping something that has been around a long time.”
Once this project is finished, the historic façade will be visible from inside the building along with steel being used to support it. Original drawings will be used to replicate some of the building’s ground floor timber joinery.
Kris says he and the other investors involved with High Street Lanes have a very good relationship with Danny Whiting and his team at Consortium Construction Ltd, the main contractor for
the Duncan’s Buildings project. “We have built up a lot of
and mutual understanding. Those guys really appreciate the importance of getting the quality right and building in a timely manner.”
Bohemian Bakery, currently based in Sumner, is confirmed as one of
Buildings new ground floor tenants. A stylish mezzanine is planned as a trademark feature in its space. Premium
second-hand designer brand Recycled Boutique is also confirmed, along with Hemingway (offering bespoke designer fittings, furniture
homeware), and a number of other boutique retailers soon to be confirmed. “We want this area to be a bit different – an eclectic, grungy, hip collection of stores.”
Taking up half the space on the first floor will be MDS Law. A high-end health and fitness
is tipped to take the other half. “We still have a couple of small spaces – one 50sqm and another 100sqm – that would make brilliant boutique offices.”
In the pipeline for 2019 is a complementary new two-story retail/hospitality/ office building, due to go up on vacant land adjacent to the McKenzie and Willis development.
Meanwhile, Kris notes that Consortium Construction is also the main contractor for the substantial Riverside Farmers Market development, poised to transform the western end of the CBD
with laneways, food stalls, retail stores, restaurants, and bars.