Building rumours 21: end-of-year round-up
Here's an assortment of new building news to wrap up 2007, starting from the confirmed and moving towards the more speculative.
The apartment building at 158 Cuba St, which one would expect to be approaching construction since the previous building was demolished a little while ago, now has a name and a shiny website: Cubana. The apartment levels appear the same as the earlier model (i.e. rectilinear but with quite a lot of depth and variety), but the Che Guevara artwork on the first floor (which made me cringe earlier) has been replaced by an abstract design of metal and neon circles.
The proposal for the corner of Ghuznee and Leeds streets has morphed from a rather surprisingly curvy design into something much more conventional: the Metropol. 14 storeys might seem surprisingly tall for Ghuznee St, but the District Plan height map (1.16MB PDF) does indeed allow a 43m height limit here, and this is a fairly complex design that steps down from a tower on Leeds St, via what look like "townhouses in the sky" above the building that currently houses the Nut Shop, to the height limits set for the Cuba St character area. This is still apparently at the pre-application stage, so it may change before it gets any further.
The headline 'Green village' plan for Tory St had my hopes up for a while: is someone finally going to do something worthwhile with that hideous agglomeration of bulk retail at the top of Tory St? Sadly not. But Ian Cassels' plan to convert the Telecom office complex into a combination of apartments, retail, offices and even a retirement home sounds intriguing on many levels. It may be some years off, it may not involve any major new construction, and whether the "sustainable urban village" turns out to be anything more than a fairly conventional mixed use development remains to be seen. But as an opportunity to freshen up some tired architecture, provide some more active edges, turn the surface car parks into decent public space and provide pedestrian connections to Alpha and Tennyson streets, this is a proposal with a lot of potential.
The much-discussed former Il Casino site currently bears an intriguing giant ribbon and sticker, implying that some sort of gift is about to be presented to the city. Most of us are too cynical to expect any development here to be much of a pleasant surprise, but there is apparently a proposal working its way through the consent process, with some hints of improvement as it proceeds. Despite the news that the site owner is "still considering options for the site", the ribbon would seem to indicate that an advertising campaign (for what one presumes will be apartments) is imminent. That same article seems to put an end to any rumours about a future re-launch of Il Casino, so whether or not any physical remnants of the building remain (and there's not much more than façades left), this corner will never be the same.