A former woolstore on Napier’s West Quay is the subject of a resource consent application aimed at redeveloping the historic waterfront building for offices and apartment living.
Renamed Quayhaven by owners Ray and Alison McKimm, the former Hawke’s Bay Farmers Cooperative Building is historically and architecturally significant. The Napier City Council considers its reuse to be integral to the ongoing cohesive redevelopment of quayside buildings that served Napier’s original port.
The landmark structure is one of the last in a line of former West Quay warehouses not redeveloped and is in near original condition. Any proposal to alter the exterior of a West Quay Waterfront Zone building automatically triggers a resource consent process.
Plans for Quayhaven were lodged by Paris Magdalinos Architects. The redesign by Queenstown architect John Blair largely retains the existing form, character and façade while proposing openings for decks at first floor level and a changed configuration for downpipes that form part of building’s streetside composition.
The two options for redeveloping the interior space both provide five office tenancies on the ground floor and a 750sq m apartment that extends across the building, east to west, on the south side of an upper floor. The balance of this floor is intended for future office space or, more likely, three further apartments.
The West Quay Design Team, comprising designer Jacob Scott and landscape architect Alan Titchener, plus Jeremy Salmond, an architect specialising in heritage issues, are advising the Council on the building’s conservation. Their major concern centres on the proposed treatment of downpipes.
The resource consent process is currently on hold until design, parking and traffic issues are resolved.
The Hawke’s Bay Farmers Cooperative Building was constructed in the 1930s. The architect is unknown but the robust reinforced concrete structure and striking octagonal internal columns appear to be a response to the destructive forces of the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake.
Wool bales could be stacked from floor to ceiling in the voluminous two-storey height building. While there are no windows above ground floor, the corrugated iron sawtooth roof’s south-lights draw natural light into the upper space and allowed walls to remain free for storage.
Redevelopment plans include car parking at the building’s rear and the use of vehicle stackers. These would be a first for Napier although these are widely used in Auckland and Wellington. A car lift, passenger lift and car lift would be encompassed within a glass-clad industrial-look tower structure added to the southern elevation.
The proposal is to retain the many wool bale and other stencil markings which, made on the building’s exposed structure, attest to its original vocation.