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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So it seems that construction work on the old Farmers building is in full-swing so it's time a thread was made for the project.

The project encompasses three buildings in total - the old Farmers building, 104 Cuba St, and 106 Cuba St (the Matterhorn restaurant).

The proposal sees the old Farmers building, which has been used as a department store since its construction in 1914, strengthened to 100% NBS, significantly refurbished, and repurposed as offices and retail.

The neighbouring building, 104 Cuba St, is having all but its façade demolished, which is more than what can be said about 106 Cuba St which is being completely demolished. In place of these buildings will be built a new building connected with the neighbouring Farmers building. This building will also include an extra storey (taking it to the same height as the Farmers building) and a new façade replacing the demolished one at 106 Cuba.

As with the Farmers building this one will also have retail on the ground floor and offices above. The entire complex will provide an additional 5,000 sqms of office space and 2,250 sqms of retail space.

The developers are Willis and Bond and apparently the budget is $40 million. It is due for completion in December next year.

Also included in the works is the demolition of various annexes to the rear of the Farmers building in preparation for further stages in the precinct.

As alluded to, this is only the second stage in a supposedly three stage development. The first stage was the neighbouring development of the new creative arts campus, Te Auaha. The third stage will most likely be another mixed-used development of offices and apartments on the large site on Victoria Street, to the rear of the first two stages. The budget for this stage is $160 million: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/103711379/farmers-leaves-cuba-st-wellington-seven-new-retailers-to-move-in-as-part-of-new-development

the architects are Athfield.

Here's the renders, note the design seems to have been changed recently.

This, it would seem, is the older version:




And here is the newer one, I really like this version. Also, here's the link to the Willis Bond website (including a fly-through video - it looks great inside): https://willisbond.co.nz/projects/cuba-precinct/





 

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It does look smart. I’m sad about the Matterhorn still (!) but at least this isn’t so bad. I hope the tenants are cool, at least - but perhaps the action has all moved down.

Assuming no F&B is planned, given no cafe seating in the renders...?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It does look smart. I’m sad about the Matterhorn still (!) but at least this isn’t so bad. I hope the tenants are cool, at least - but perhaps the action has all moved down.

Assuming no F&B is planned, given no cafe seating in the renders...?
There looks to be a café in that fly-through video but I think all the retail is yet to be confirmed. There's going to be up to 7 shops but it's possible to combine tenancies to make a larger one by the sounds of it.

As for the offices, I guess it'd be perfect for tech companies etc.
 

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The big question, that is not answered in any of these renders is what is the height of the buildings going on the back (the Ex Farmers carpark building and the "triangle" carpark on the Dixon/Victoria corner...

The original development of the Whitireia and WelTec block had 6-7 indicated for the rear block, but this may have all changed..

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The big question, that is not answered in any of these renders is what is the height of the buildings going on the back (the Ex Farmers carpark building and the "triangle" carpark on the Dixon/Victoria corner...

The original development of the Whitireia and WelTec block had 6-7 indicated for the rear block, but this may have all changed..
The height limit for the site behind is 43 metres and it sounds like they intend to use it, this was in the resource consent information: "in developing the proposed form and massing of the entire site, careful consideration has been given to balancing generally lower level development along the Cuba Street site, stepping up to considerably taller structures along the Victoria Street side, in response to the existing pattern and intent of the the district plan".
 

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It does look smart. I’m sad about the Matterhorn still (!) but at least this isn’t so bad. I hope the tenants are cool, at least - but perhaps the action has all moved down.

Assuming no F&B is planned, given no cafe seating in the renders...?
Not all is lost. While the unique decor of Matterhorn will be missed, the owners have since shifted to Tory St and rebranded as Monte Cervino (the Italian-Swiss derivative of Matterhorn).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Willis and Bond have been advertising this fairly heavily recently with full-page adverts in the weekend papers. They haven't actually been advertising stage three (the land on Victoria and Dixon Streets) but they have mentioned what it will involve. The map printed in the paper shows an office building on the corner of Dixon and Victoria, an apartment building facing on to Victoria Street (which has offices on the lower levels), a parking building in the centre of the complex, and lane ways going between Victoria, Dixon, Cuba and the Left Bank. So I guess it's really going to be another Chews Lane in terms of being mixed use and having lane ways. It also seems that they'll be releasing their plans in full soon.
 

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I'm in two minds, while its good they will have a significant anchor tenant, I am not sure that public entities like the Regional Council should be taking space in new builds that will likely have a pretty steep price...

But given the current tightness of the Wellington market, there is probably not much choice for anyone looking for a large number of sqm on a single site..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I found the website for Cuba Precinct: https://www.cubaprecinct.co.nz/

The website shows Willis Bond's intentions for the Victoria and Dixon Street sites: an eight storey office building and a 17 storey apartment/office building.

Obviously they're in the early stages but I think it looks great.

This stretch of Victoria Street is going to be completely different in a few years time with all these developments happening in such a small space.



Here's a render:

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
looks great, hopefully they can get construction underway this year.... could be another busy year for the construction sector in Welly.
Yes I hope so too, but I'm not sure if it will start this year somehow.

The consent itself will probably take ages, given it's for a mixed-use building and given that it actually breaks a number of rules (such as height).

Then there's the fact that they need to market 120 apartments, over 10,000 sqm of office space, and 2000 sqm of retail space - and this on top of another 7000 sqm of office and 1000 sqm of retail in the old Farmers building.

While I think the apartments will be snapped up in no time and the retail space will be easily filled (probably in some part by a supermarket), I think it could possibly take longer to lease the rather large component of office space. I could easily be wrong about this, but with a number of other office developments popping up around the city, they might find it difficult to secure a tenant considering this part of town isn't really known as an A-grade business address (though in saying that there's no reason it shouldn't be).

There must be over 100,000 sqm of new office space proposed around the city (and at least half that again in refurbished space) so there's definitely a lot for prospective tenants to choose from, so I guess really it's all about timing and offering the right sort of space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Apartment block will be on base isolation pads according to the add.
It'll be the first base isolated apartment building in Wellington (maybe even New Zealand?).

Also I'm wondering if Farmers might end up back in the precinct somewhere.

When the refurbishment of the old Farmers building was originally announced it was clearly stated at the time that they were not returning: "Farmers department store will not be returning to Wellington's Cuba St. Developers confirmed Farmers let its lease lapse after it moved out following the November 2016 earthquake. It has not applied to renew it." yet in the most recent article about the new apartments it said this: Willis Bond & Co managing director David McGuiness said the company was still in talks with retailers as to who would tenant the space. He would not confirm whether or not Farmers would be moving back into the space.

Why would he not deny something that had previously been denied unless Farmers were looking to go back into the precinct?

And I guess it doesn't have to be back into their old building, it could be into one of the new buildings - taking up the ground floor and an office floors in the podium perhaps.

There's also this render on the website now:

 
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