In 1990, when the client came to us, Dockside on the Wellington wharves was nothing more than that. It was an aged, tatty and redundant wharf shed.
The Wellington waterfront bore no resemblance to the vibrant place that it is today. But the client could see the opportunity. He’d approached an architect with his creative vision and they’d worked up concepts. But after that they weren’t sure how to make it happen.
Which is when they came to us.
The challenges they faced were numerous. To retrofit the building, they found that they also had to strengthen the wharf. The land was leasehold and financing a project where you don’t own the building, you don’t own the land and you’re doing something nobody else has done before is not simple.
The first thing we did was help negotiate an agreement with Lambton Harbour. It ended being a classic ‘win-win’ situation. Our client was given the opportunity to realise his vision and Lambton Harbour in return used the development as a catalyst and an example for promoting the overall waterfront development.
The next challenge was getting the work done. The client wanted it finished, ready to open, in time for the Nissan Mobil 500 race when Wellington would be thronging with people. It was a completely unrealistic building programme. The construction
sector was already busy. We had the situation where a rival Project Manager – we can say this because he is now our Wellington General Manager – on a project with a similar deadline, would sneak across the road to get our contractors to come and work on his job. And then we would have to go and get them straight back.
We made it. Dockside opened in October 1991. It’s still going strong. And the development of the Wellington waterfront is going even stronger.