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Barkers Menswear confirmed as flagship tenant for Willis Bond & Co's Cuba Development

12 December 2015. Source: Stuff.co.nz
Cuba Dixon Interior Retail Indicative Impression Online Res

Barkers Menswear has confirmed it is taking space in Willis Bond & Co’s new Cuba development on the site of the former DEKA building. The high performing fashion company has secured the 184 square metre space on the Cuba/Dixon Street corner for a new flagship store in the heart of the Cuba Quarter.

This announcement comes at a time when the building’s construction is moving into its next phase, which will see the above-ground structure starting to take shape.

Since beginning work in May this year, contractors LT McGuinness have demolished the earthquake-prone structures on the site, completed the piling and started preserving the two-storey heritage façade. This has included temporarily removing a span of the facade from the Dixon Street side to allow the piling rig to finish its work. It will be replaced in its original form, only structurally strengthened, as a feature of the new 130% NBS six-storey building.

The site has a long retail history and has been associated with some of Wellington’s most prominent retailing names since 1875 when it was home to James Smith’s original drapery business. Over the decades the site has changed hands and shape several times – to the estate of Robert Hannah (Hannah’s shoes) in 1927 when it became a forerunner to the modern mall.  In 1951 it was sold to Woolworths, then in 1979 to LD Nathans who had both a supermarket and general merchandising arm.  The merchandising side of the business was later renamed DEKA.

There continues to be strong interest in the site with a number of national and international brands making enquiries about the four remaining units. The spaces, which all have prime frontage onto the Cuba Street pedestrian mall, range in size between 76–155sqm, with the option to combine adjacent units and are well suited to apparel, fashion or technology tenants.

In this next phase of its life, this landmark site is being transformed into a new destination that will include Whitireia and WelTec’s new 9,000 square metre creative technologies and applied arts campus with prime retail space wrapping around the ground floor of the corner site.

Mark McGuinness, managing director of Willis Bond & Co, said: “This site has had a proud place in Wellington’s inner city retailing history and it is set to once more play an integral role in adding to the energy, colour and vibrancy of the Cuba Street Precinct.

“The project will deliver new retail opportunities to support the immense popularity of the Cuba Quarter as a shopping and entertainment destination as well as an exceptional new learning environment for over 1,000 creative technologies and applied arts students,” Mr McGuinness said.

The ground floor retail spaces are expected to be ready by mid-2016 and the campus completed for the start of the 2018 academic year.