Former hotel owner turning office block into 'New York style' apartments

Chris Parkin's new project involves turning HP House into a mix of apartments and offices.
ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Chris Parkin's new project involves turning HP House into a mix of apartments and offices.

A 24 hour a day concierge service, and a doorman who knows everyone's name.

Former Museum Art Hotel owner Chris Parkin is planning to transform a high-rise office building in Wellington into a "sophisticated" apartment block.

Parkin's new project will see HP House on Gilmer Tce turn into New York-style 5-star apartments - with his own personal touch, of course.

From the streets of New York, to the capital city of New Zealand.
SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS

From the streets of New York, to the capital city of New Zealand.

"It's hard to change your taste - theatrical is what I've grown up with, so theatrical I will continue," he said.

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As well as the former owner of a luxury Wellington hotel, he is also an art collector, with more than 100 artworks on display at the Museum Hotel including a limited edition MV Agusta bike.

The Museum Art Hotel is still crammed full of Parkin's extensive art collection.
SUPPLIED

The Museum Art Hotel is still crammed full of Parkin's extensive art collection.

While there were discussions of Parkin slowing down after the sale of the hotel in June last year, he said he was not done yet.

His full plan for HP House is to mix commercial with residential - apartments on eight floors, offices on four.

"Most of the buildings in this area that have been bought recently vacant have been converted into student accommodation, we are going for exactly the opposite end of market," Parkin said.

Mercer St in New York is where the wealthy can rent out apartments for about $30,000 a month.
GETTY IMAGES

Mercer St in New York is where the wealthy can rent out apartments for about $30,000 a month.

"We just think that this aspect of the market is not really well catered for in Wellington.

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"It's either scuzzy apartments or nice hotels and this is somewhere in between.

"It's what Wellington needs, in my opinion. It's more fitting our classy side."

Parkin sold the Museum Art Hotel to Australian company Amalgamated Holdings in June last year for $28.5m.
CRAIG SIMCOX/FAIRFAX NZ

Parkin sold the Museum Art Hotel to Australian company Amalgamated Holdings in June last year for $28.5m.

As it stands, Hewlett Packard (HP) has the top four floors until 2021, and Parkin hopes to have eight floors - one through eight - converted into apartments by the end of 2018.

The project is estimated to set him back about $15 million, including the swimming pool, gym and restaurant on the ground floor.

The apartments will range from 40 square metres to 60sqm in size.

Most would be one-bedroom apartments, though there would be two two-bedroom apartments on each floor, he said.

"I think of it more like apartments in New York, where you have the guy on the door and he knows everyone, and all the services are in the building.

"It's just a really nice place to live and has a good feel to it. It's going to be big."

Parkin hoped to also create internal access from the apartments to Lambton Quay, he said.

He would also add extra carparks at the bottom of the 30-year-old building.

HP House is the second inner city building Parkin has bought in the past year.

He bought the Registered Master Builders building in Wakefield St for $14.25m in December.

At the time, Parkin said it was time to give his wallet a rest.

However, it seems the Gilmer Tce property was too good a deal to pass on.

"It [HP House] is a long-term investment for the family - an easy opportunity," he said.

"We'll hang on to this."

 - Stuff

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