The first stage of The Precinct in Wanaka is open for business in late summer bringing a high-end industrial edge to retailing in the downtown area.
Inspired by the site’s origins as the Wanaka Police Station and the industrial aesthetic of New York, the complex spans over 1500 square metres on its Helwick Street location with just under one-third being open courtyard space.
“My father Steve Norman bought the land in 2014 intending to build a commercial precinct with a difference. Five years on, it’s exciting to see it coming to life,” says The Precinct’s brand and retail manager Mel Norman.
“Stage one is expected to be operational in February which includes our upmarket retail stores Deval and Revology. We encourage people to follow our progress to see what’s happening as there will be innovative new additions coming online throughout the season.”
Boutique in nature, industrial in design with eclectic final flourishes, The Precinct is a complete retail experience that offers a sense of discovery, according to Mel.
“I was fortunate to spend some time in New York looking at the cityscape and the original police precincts. We have focused on re-interpreting that palette for Wanaka to make it relevant and accessible in the local environment. The result is warm and comfortable with the whitewashed red brick cladding taking on a lovely pink tone that has softened the industrial aesthetic.
“Several Wanaka based businesses have been integral to the project including Justin Carnie and the team from CDL Building and Olly Lewis from Wanaka Stainless. We have worked together with him to create over 3000 metres of steel balustrade to wrap around the roof garden and stairs, which is a real design feature and nod to the original police cells on the existing site,” she says.
Stephen Calder from Calder Developments, a specialist in traditional woolsheds plus commercial and industrial buildings, supplied concrete tilt panels and structural beams for the building.
“Stephen was one of our families farming connections whose work ethic and unique approach was indispensable to the project, and he sadly passed away in October,” says Mel.
“His hands-on and collaborative approach and personable nature will be sadly missed and our family will raise our glasses to him on opening night.”
Mel’s brother James designed the building and her mother Katrina who is an avid gardener is overseeing the planting of the extensive courtyard located down the laneway, along with a 150square metre roof garden.
“She is working alongside Rachel Benton from The Green Room, who will be opening a second Wanaka store at The Precinct in the New Year, on the gardening project and it is currently a hive of activity with mass plantings being nurtured over summer,” says Mel. “The creation of an inviting green space is in readiness for the hospitality courtyard opening in autumn.”