Prista Apartments Ltd: vulgar design, weak facadism, dog of a new infill to street #compromise


DCC reference: LUC-2008-580
Decision: DCC granted resource consent to Prista Apartments Ltd (applicant)
Subject site: 372-392 Princes Street and 11 Stafford Street, Dunedin

Historic heritage and precinct matters:
● District Plan listed facades for protection: 372-392 Princes Street
● District Plan listed South Princes Street Townscape Precinct (TH04)

Environment Court Appeal: Lodged by New Zealand Historic Places Trust on 5 October 2010. Subsequently, Elizabeth Kerr and Peter Entwisle registered as RMA s274 parties to appeal.


After considerable delays, caucusing between the parties has resulted in a Consent Order from the Environment Court, such that there is:

● protection for only three existing heritage building facades to Princes Street (380, 386 and 392);
● one new façade (372 Princes Street) directly to street for new commercial building at 372-392 Princes Street (comprising apartments, retail and internal parking);
● one new commercial building to 11 Stafford Street;
● monitor against damage to historic Empire Hotel south of the application site; and
● site redevelopment at 372-392 Princes Street (including pre-1900 bread ovens at 392 Princes Street) subject to separate archaeological authority process.

Consent lapse date: 1 July 2021
No DCC-imposed bond required of the developer, Prista Apartments Ltd.

[Building colour and signage require separate resource consent.]

The following Consent Order is the culmination of a protracted process of negotiation between the parties New Zealand Historic Places Trust (Appellant), Dunedin City Council (Respondent) and the Applicant, Prista Apartments Ltd (Luke Dirkzwager of Christchurch).

Consent Order 26.6.14 (PDF, 748 KB)

Indicative renderings by Fulton Ross Team Architects, Christchurch show approximate bulk, scale and architectural treatment (December 2013) — at first floor level immediately above the verandah the building facades mask car parking, resulting in an obvious strip of dead window space:

PristaApartments (Consent Order 26.6.14) 2

PristaApartments (Consent Order 26.6.14)

Was it a frustrating anger-inducing process to get to this COMPROMISE ???
You betcha, for All concerned. Especially against the receiving environment at Dunedin where local developers and property investors hold a substantially different view to building conservation, sense of place, and sympathetic adaptive reuse for contemporary and future ownership, tenanting and business opportunities. However, all that is Cut Dead at this particular spot in Princes Street by a Christchurch personality who appears to be in no rush to build.
His buildings must remain safe and pose no threat to the general public in the meantime.

Prista Apartments 372-392 Princes St, Dunedin (IMG_8407a1)

JGillies schematic architectural history (2a)

Related Posts and Comments:
4.3.11 Reaction to another instance of unthinking ad-hocism from City Hall
15.9.10 Prista Apartments: Resource consent Decision + Appeal
4.5.10 Prista Apartments: Dunedin’s goldrush-era heritage won’t fall over…
24.1.10 Prista Apartments: 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr



Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Heritage, Heritage NZ, Name, New Zealand, NZHPT, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design

5 responses to “Prista Apartments Ltd: vulgar design, weak facadism, dog of a new infill to street #compromise

  1. Elizabeth

    Negotiated solution and dismissal of appeal – with ODT spin, of course

  2. Elizabeth

    Oh, so now ODT reckons it’s a compromise……… a little late.

    ODT Editorial: Compromise welcomed
    It is pleasing to see the long stoush over the planned Princes St development resolved through compromise, thereby allowing the opportunity for further regeneration of the Exchange area of Dunedin, in which welcome signs of progress are increasingly in evidence.

  3. Elizabeth

    There is NO LOVE LOST. That’s me speaking, others in this folly are more professional….

    The anti-heritage Christchurch “developer” who is not riding with the flow of Dunedin heritage developers in the Exchange area and in the warehouse precinct – rather he is prepared to wreak havoc on some of the city’s most historically significant remaining port-side buildings in Princes Street, constructed well before the full harbour reclamations. In order to do cheap nasty obsolete facadism, mickey mouse Disney style. Three of the buildings to Princes St could have been economically strengthened and retained in full. Onsite car parking at first floor level of the apartment complex has determined that windows to the street will be blacked out (deadened) and or louvre ventilated – disturbing the existing townscape pattern. The subject site is contained within TH04 South Princes Street Townscape Precinct, which is supposed to uphold and retain existing heritage values as part of precinct rules.

    DCC went for economic development not heritage retention; and everyone at DCC responsible for the resource consent decision that brought about this outcome should be publicly named and shamed. I have never witnessed such a shambolic play from City Planning personnel and the hearings committee.

    Salvaging the District Plan listed protected facades was as much as could be achieved by our legal means – thus entry into the appeal process to counter DCC’s move to defy Rules of the community-owned District Plan, which would have ultimately arrived at full demolition and removal of all heritage values.

    Another factor is the archaeological authority now required from Heritage New Zealand. On site at 392 Princes St there are very significant pre-1900 brick bread ovens that must be protected. Let’s see how the Christchurch developer deals with this process.

    ### May 27, 2015 – 6:57pm
    Accommodation complex to be developed in Princes Street
    A multi-million dollar retail and accommodation complex is to be developed in Princes Street. These empty buildings are owned by a Christchurch developer, who plans to turn them into shops and apartments. The owner’s been embroiled in a legal battle with Heritage New Zealand over his plans to knock the buildings down. But he says that situation’s been resolved, and the redevelopment’s expected to start next year. The building facades will be retained, but everything behind them is set to be replaced. The current value of the buildings is unknown, although the owner says millions of dollars will be spent on the renovation. His project comes as the city council looks to enhance Princes Street as part of a central city overhaul.
    Ch39 Link [no video available]

    Elizabeth Kerr was one of two s274 parties to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust appeal of the DCC resource consent decision to the Environment Court – to allow for demolition and redevelopment at the sites. She was a signatory to the agreed compromise, by court order, to allow new build construction behind three of the existing heritage facades to Princes St, one new building to Princes St, and one new building to Stafford St. For commercial residential and retail use.

  4. Elizabeth

    Work would begin with a review of the development plans, including fresh detailed designs and costs, and “physically what we have to do to make it all work” with the facades. –Dirkzwager

    ### ODT Online Fri, 29 May 2015
    Changes likely for development
    By Chris Morris
    A multimillion-dollar development on Dunedin’s Princes St is still alive, but the man behind the project says “changes” may be needed to accommodate a row of historic facades. Christchurch developer Luke Dirkzwager, of Prista Apartments, last year won Environment Court approval to demolish buildings at 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St. The agreement was conditional on the retention of three of the buildings’ four historic facades, while the rest of the 100- to 150-year-old buildings made way for a retail and apartment development.
    Read more

  5. Elizabeth

    How interesting, given all we know about the “let go” condition of 386 Princes Street, designed by architect William Mason, and its lingering owner.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 1 Mar 2016
    Fallen Princes St wall to be assessed
    By Craig Borley
    Part of a historic Dunedin building’s wall has collapsed on to an adjoining building’s roof, leaving the roof buckled under several tonnes of brick and plaster. The damage to the buildings, at 380 and 386 Princes St, will be assessed today in a meeting between the Dunedin City Council and the buildings’ owner, Christchurch developer Luke Dirkzwager.
    Read more

    █ [yawn] Mr Dirkzwager said yesterday the development was still in the “costing process”, and no more information on the project’s future would be available until that process had been completed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s