The Terrace leading riverside revival
Dressed in an energising red suit, developer Antony Gough exudes enthusiasm as we meet to discuss the latest news on what’s happening at Christchurch’s emerging hospitality hotspot, The Terrace.
The $140 million redevelopment of the city’s former riverside bar zone, The Strip on Oxford Terrace, has been a long time coming, but the wait is now over as tenants complete their fitouts and trading begins in this premium mixeduse precinct of restaurants, bars and offices. Imagine the best of Melbourne’s street hospitality.
This is what Antony wanted for Christchurch: a humming riverside quarter of double-storey bars and eateries, linked together with laneways and air bridges, where you can stroll through to a central piazza before heading up for a drink with friends on The Terrace.
With laneway names like Oxford Lane and Little Oxford Lane, it really does feel like a slice of Melbourne, Christchurch-style.
His goal from the start has been to optimise, rather than maximise, the precinct’s potential.
“So about fifty per cent of the floor area here is public space that I don’t collect rent off; the reason for that is I’m trying to back Christchurch and make sure this becomes a meeting area,” says Antony, managing director of Hereford Holdings.
“It’s very exciting, finally – after five years building this labour of love – to be getting there.”
The Terrace has had a challenging journey, at times facing delays and holdups, much of which Antony says stemmed from a conservative bank financing environment.
At just the right time, Gough brothers Harcourt and Tracy came to the rescue as coinvestors.
“Harcourt has been our primary strong man. He came on board with the big Westpac building and is involved with the car park too.”
Construction of the Hereford St car park building, comprising more than 400 spaces, will get underway early in the New Year.
Stage one’s hospitality precinct, due to be completed by Christmas, boasts a variety of low rise buildings clad distinctively in timber, black aluminium and rust-coated steel.
One exterior wall will be clothed in a façade of wisteria vines, (to filter sunlight in summer and let it though in winter).
The six-storey Westpac building, which will also house KPMG and ground floor retail, is on track to be finished by mid-March 2018. This entire precinct is fully accessible with no tricky steps or slopes.
By design, architecture at The Terrace comes in a variety of striking styles and forms. As Antony explains, “I didn’t want to end up with something cream, windowless and inward looking.”
By Christmas, the doors will be open on former Coyote owner Clive Weston’s new craft beer bar, Craft Embassy, with up to 40 taps available.
It has a prime first floor location in a beautiful timber clad building along Oxford Terrace
. Joining it on the other side of the floor will be Botanic, a bar by Queenstown hospitality entrepreneurs Daniel and Ricki Taiaroa.
The Terrace’s very first tenants – Sovereign – have moved into offices in stage one, at the end of Oxford Lane.
(Many office spaces still remain available through the development, with attractive options to choose from). The New Year will progressively see more openings.
Downstairs from Craft Embassy, Brian and Louis Vieceli will be bringing back the Bangalore Polo Club.
Other ventures poised to open include Gorilla (Teppanyaki), Glass Goose bar (Cook Brothers), Velvet Burger, the Terrace Tavern (Richard Sinke), Sal’s Pizza, Sailor’s Son Coffee Shop and Juice bar Fruit Fusion.
Hamilton hospitality leader John Lawrenson plans to launch his first Christchurch venture on the ground floor of the second stage office building on the corner of Oxford Tce and Cashel St.
“We have 17 hospitality premises altogether and we have been quite choosy about who we have taken on. We will generally only take proven operators [and] each one has a different offering.”
There will be no ugly rubbish skips or loading docks anywhere to be seen in this hospitality haven. These have been tucked away out of sight.
The Terrace will be a spectacular addition to the central city, adding to other redevelopments that are rapidly putting Christchurch back in business.
“Christchurch has been rebuilt by local passionate people. We haven’t seen an influx of investment from elsewhere. It’s all been locals, passionate locals.”