Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


McKenzie and Willis façade in Christchurch to be preserved

Historic McKenzie and Willis façade in Christchurch to be preserved in design build

The historic McKenzie and Willis building façade in Christchurch, which sits in the Innovation Precinct, will be saved in a deal brokered with local property investor Richard Peebles.

Peebles is in negotiation to buy the landmark site on the corner of High and Tuam Sts, and will work to preserve the façade in a design build joint venture including some family shareholders of McKenzie and Willis. The cost to fully renovate, restore and incorporate the façade into the new development is estimated at $4-$4.5 million. The completed development, combining stages 1 and 2, will have a value of $40-50 million.

Wynyard Group, a market leader in advanced crime analytics software and services, today announced its new global research and development facility will be housed in a design build on the site, which is situated in the Innovation Precinct. The new building will house around 100 Wynyard research and development, and software engineering staff.

Bill Willis, managing director of McKenzie and Willis, said the retailer had spent years considering the best options for the site and searching for a solution that would ensure preservation of the historic three-storey façade, designed by England Brothers Architects for A J Whites and dating back to 1911.

The bulk of the building behind the facade had to be demolished after the February 2011 earthquake and parts of the facade were dislodged. It is now being partly supported by a temporary steel frame built along Tuam and High Sts, but work on attaching the frame to the facade has not yet been finished.

“This building is special to us and holds many memories for our customers and staff. Richard Peebles has an understanding and empathy for heritage in Christchurch and we’re delighted that he’s developed plans for a building that saves and incorporates the façade. Any new development would require the skills and expertise of an experienced developer and the opportunity to work with Richard and save the façade presented as the very best option,” Willis said.

“This agreement also allows us to continue to focus our attention on our retail operations.”

Peebles said he decided to buy the site because of its strategic location within the Innovation Precinct and the commitment of companies such as Vodafone and Kathmandu to the area.

“We’re receiving significant enquiry for tenancies in the Innovation Precinct, which encouraged us to proceed with the development. The interest and subsequent commitment from the Wynyard Group underpinned our confidence in this location and was fundamental to the façade’s retention.

“There has been very little retention and restoration of historic buildings in the rebuild and we felt it is important to attempt to retain this particular McKenzie and Willis façade.”

Both Peebles and Willis acknowledged the support of the Christchurch City Council and Historic Places Trust in assisting with the restoration.

Post-earthquake McKenzie and Willis has relocated to Blenheim Rd.

Willis: “It was a significant change for us, however, over its 108 years history, McKenzie and Willis has moved a number of times from its original location in Cathedral Square, to the old ‘Queens Theatre’ on the corner of Hereford St and Colombo until finally the Tuam/High St site for which it is most well-known.”

He said McKenzie and Willis would continue to consider its options for a return to the central city.

“We will always look for what is the best location to serve our customer base. At this stage we have five more years to run on our lease. In that time, we expect significant change in the city’s shape. It would be nice at some stage to have a retail representation back within a new and thriving city centre,” Willis said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Government: Traffic Light Levels Announced

The levels at which different parts of New Zealand will move forward into the COVID-19 Protection Framework this Friday have been announced. Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will move in at Red... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why An Attack On Iran Is Back On The Agenda

Reportedly, Christopher Luxon has the edge on Simon Bridges in National’s leadership contest although there is no firm evidence for that hunch. So, one hesitates about joining a media echo chamber that amplifies Luxon’s chances ahead of the 3pm caucus meeting today. You know how it goes: Luxon doesn’t quite have the numbers, so his people start talking to the media to make him seem like the smart bet. Or even perhaps: Luxon hasn't got the numbers, and his people start talking to the media to talk up his support so that he gets a nicer consolation prize... More>>


Government: Delivers Reactivation Package As Aucklanders Reconnect For Summer
A new support package will help revive economic, social and cultural activities in our largest city over summer, and ensure those in hardship also get relief. The Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni and the Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash... More>>

Government: Crown Accounts Reflect Strong Economy Amid Pandemic

The Government’s financial accounts continue to reflect an economy that has performed better than expected, despite the latest Delta COVID-19 outbreak. The Crown accounts for the four months to the end of October factors in the improved starting position for the new financial year... More>>


National: Christopher Luxon Elected Party Leader
Christopher Luxon has been elected Leader of the New Zealand National Party, alongside Nicola Willis as Deputy Leader. “It is a tremendous privilege to lead our great party, and I thank my colleagues for the confidence they have placed in me,” Mr Luxon says... More>>

Waitangi National Trust: Waitangi Week
The Waitangi National Trust has decided there will be no in-person events at Waitangi Treaty Grounds during Waitangi Week 2022. Under the COVID-19 Protection Framework it would be practically impossible to safely proceed with the usual events of Waitangi commemorations... More>>

Freedom Camping: Making Sure People Are Up To Play With Changes
People interested in finding out how the proposed improvements to freedom camping might affect them are being invited to an information-sharing webinar... More>>

AUT: Aucklanders Are Less Concerned With Covid
In reaction to commentary that Aucklanders are at breaking point after more than 100 days in lockdown and that compliance with the rules is under threat, AUT Emeritus Professor of Sociology Charles Crothers says... More>>




InfoPages News Channels