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New lease of life for city apartments

New lease of life for city apartments
Westside Building has completely transformed this 30-year-old block of inner-city apartments.

Christchurch builder Michael Connell, takes great pleasure in breathing life back into old and damaged buildings to once again be lovingly enjoyed.

As managing director of Westside Building 2015 Ltd, Michael’s latest project is a set of eight adjoining apartments that sit within Christchurch’s inner city between Conference and Beveridge Streets.

Almost 30 years old, the Body Corporate apartments were significantly damaged in Christchurch’s earthquake and later sold ‘as-is-where-is’ to Michael’s development company.

Experienced at undertaking similar projects, Michael and his team dismissed the temptation of demolishing the apartments and starting afresh. “We could easily have knocked the apartments down and started again for a similar financial outlay,” says Michael.

“But I get a lot of joy out of resurrecting these types of properties and people who’ve seen the property before the work was done saying how good it now looks.

“That’s my passion for building.” The apartment block’s original configuration included four two-bedroom and four three-bedroom units. All apartments were in original condition.

Working with Threefold Architecture, each apartment’s floor plan was remodelled to provide a much lighter, user-friendly and more visually appealing inner city residence -leaping 25 years forward.

“We now have 6 three-bedroom and two twobedroom apartments and moved a lot of things around – opening the kitchens up, removing and changing internal walls and creating more storage space. We think storage space is key in high-density inner-city living.”

An Integra Rockcote and plaster cladding system has been used on the exterior and new joinery fitted throughout. Recessed down pipes and the judicious use of cedar provide attractive detail.

Internal single car garaging along with off-street carpark space for each apartment adds further
appeal for apartment living often barren of parking space.

Michael says each apartment has its own personality – no two apartments are the either internally or externally.

“The two-bedroom apartments have over-clad sliders that open up the living into the courtyard. “Three of the apartments have their own spa pools and some have roof-top terraces. They’re all very unique even though they are part of the same complex.”

Nearing completion with just the landscaping to complete, the apartments will be marketed from the mid $700,000’s, consistent with recently obtained capital values.

With close proximity to the ever-increasing vibrancy of Christchurch’s blossoming CBD, Michael believes the units will have much appeal to young professionals working within the city, farmers looking for a city pad and those looking for a high quality ‘lock and leave’ residence that is easy care.

At 32 years old, Michael has been in the construction industry for 17 years, gaining experience in New Zealand, England and Australia.

Establishing Westside Building in 2015 with business partner, Graeme Wills, Michael and his team have completed a number of restoration projects around the greater Christchurch area including the hill areas of Sumner and Redcliffes.

“When it comes to undertaking restoration work, we don’t just repair what has to be repaired, we also take the opportunity to enhance the property to increase its overall appeal,” says Michael.

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