Historic Christchurch facade seeks new owner

Land and character facade for sale in niche High Street location 

An historic facade in Christchurch's niche High Street is looking for a new owner.

The facade, and 144sq m of bare land, is going under the hammer on November 9.

It's been owned by antique dealer Barry Watson for nearly 40 years, and was home to his auction house and real estate agency in the early 1980s.

In the 2000s, it housed high-end fashion boutique Victoria Black but the earthquakes destroyed most of the old masonry buildings along High Street.

Courtney Doig, an investment broker with Colliers International, says Watson had originally planned to redevelop the site but has now decided to sell.

“After the earthquakes, the body of the building was demolished but the façade was propped up and preserved, currently protected by shipping containers," she says.

"It’s one of the few surviving heritage pieces in this stretch of High Street, between Tuam and Lichfield Streets, and is such an unusual opportunity for redevelopment.

“High Street is once again becoming a mecca for fashion boutiques and there are several exciting plans for development along this strip.

"There are plenty of options for owner/occupiers and investors alike with a Central City Mixed Use zoning allowing for residential, office and/or retail.”

Located in the south-east corner of the CBD near the Innovation Precinct, this area has been the focus of intensive development including the Vodafone and Kathmandu headquarters, Dux Central and the McKenzie and Willis development.

"There are also a number of leading boutique fashion stores to follow at the end of 2017 re-establishing the area as the boutique fashion hub of Christchurch,” Doig says.

Known as Victorian Free Style, the facade was designed by former Christchurch architectural practice Clarkson and Ballantyne and built in 1900.

The practice designed a number of buildings in this part of the city, most now demolished. These included the former Kennett’s Jewellers building immediately to the north (1903, demolished), and the landmark former ANZ Chambers (also demolished).

The facade has two bays at first floor level with large arched windows. The arches and flanking pilasters are adorned with relief work, as is the cornice above. Both levels of the brick facade are inset with leaded windows.

According to a Christchurch City Council Heritage Assessment, the facade has high contextual significance as one of a number of early twentieth century buildings and building facades in the lower High Street area.

Neighbouring buildings include Cotters building (c.1900), the High Street Post Office (1932), part of the facade of the Excelsior Hotel, and a timber premises dating from the 1870s.

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