Historic facade comes with Christchurch land

10:25 PM Tuesday October 31, 2017 Colin Taylor

Protected by shipping containers, the facade is for sale with a bare land site at 201 High St, Christchurch. Photo / Supplied

An historic building facade in Christchurch’s niche High Street comes with a 144sq m bare land site to go under the hammer this month.

“The property was owned by antique dealer Barry Watson for nearly 40 years,” says Courtney Doig, an investment broker with Colliers International, who is marketing 201 High St for sale by auction at 10am on November 9 in Colliers’ Christchurch auction rooms.

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 20th century buildings and building facades in the lower High St area. Neighbouring buildings include Cotters building (c.1900), the High St Post Office (1932), part of the facade of the Excelsior Hotel, and a timber premises dating from the 1870s.

“The High St site was home to Watson’s auction house and real estate agency in the early 1980s,” Doig says.

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

“Watson originally planned to redevelop the site but has now decided to sell.

“After the earthquakes, the body of the building was demolished but the facade was propped up and preserved, currently protected by shipping containers. It’s one of the few surviving heritage pieces in this stretch of High St, 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, the area has been the focus of intensive development including Vodafone and Kathmandu headquarters, Dux Central and the McKenzie and Willis development,” Doig says.

“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.”