New Regent St gearing up to reopen

Contractors enjoy New Regent St 'challenges'

MICHAEL BERRY
Last updated 05:00 02/02/2013
Daniel Tobin

Builder Mark Galletly shows the first two completed shops in New Regent Street.

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Two New Regent St shops have been refurbished and handed back to their owners, and the precinct's opening date is pencilled in for March 22.

Renovation and strengthening of numbers 28 and 30 - the former Pastel Shoe Dyers and Clara Jewellery shops - was completed for two owners who opted out of the main Naylor Love restoration of the street.

Mark Galletly, director of Galletly Builders, the head contractor for the two repairs, enjoyed the New Regent St restoration work.

"We do a lot of commercial construction projects, but we really enjoyed this job, to come back in here and put a bit of life back in the old girl," he said.

Lingerie boutique Hot Damn! will lease No 28 from next week.

Owner Kat McCorkindale started her business in a New Regent St shop a month before the February 2011 earthquake.

She moved her store to the ReStart container mall but has long planned to open a second store in New Regent St.

"I do love the street - that's half the reason I'm going back. I have an emotional connection with it."

She was optimistic about the precinct reopening by March 22.

Brian and Betty Hazeldine owned No 28 for 22 years and ran Pastel Shoe Dyers until the quake. They sold the business last year.

They said they were managing the repairs and lease of the neighbouring shop on behalf of the owners, and there were a few interested retailers.

Former tenant Clara Jewellery consolidated its business to its Auckland store after the quake.

Brian Hazeldine said some of the rents had "skyrocketed" but he had kept his shop's rent to pre-quake levels.

He and his wife were pleased with the refurbishment.

"It's going to be a lovely area," Betty Hazeldine said.

Galletly said the job had many quirks.

The firm sent pictures of original exterior wall tiles to China for custom-built replacements for the broken few.

The decorative porch was redone and the shops' original rimu floorboards had been relaid on new concrete slab floors in line with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust's requests.

His team started in early October and had finished in good time.

UPDATE: Work is winding up on most of the New Regent St shops, but one owner with five buildings in the retail precinct has yet to make a start after deciding to go it alone.

Thirty-one of the 38 adjoining shops agreed to a united restoration by construction firm Naylor Love, with some owners opting to run their repairs independently.

Two owners with neighbouring shops enlisted Galletly Builders, which finished its work this week.

Naylor Love's work is expected to be completed by the tentative opening date of March 22.

However, work has yet to start on the remaining five shops, owned by a Christchurch family.

The untouched shops were spread throughout the street.

The Press understands the repair work has building consent and has been tendered.

A family spokeswoman would not comment.

A Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority spokeswoman said the still-damaged shops would not prevent the rest of the street opening.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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