We are honoured and humbled to recieve this award; it has reminded us of our role of providing a hospitable environment for Christchurch people to enjoy in these troubled times. We want to thank the Civic Trust, all those who have worked for us and all those who support our business.
The fates of two high-profile sites within the central-city block earmarked for Christchurch’s new 35,000-seat covered stadium are yet to be decided.
The Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) yesterday advertised “notices of intention to take land” for 47 lots within the proposed stadium’s footprint between Madras, Barbadoes, Tuam and Hereford streets. Notable omissions included the heritage-listed NG Gallery on Madras St and the Christchurch City Council-owned former Turners & Growers site – the largest plot on the planned stadium site.
A Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) spokesman said yesterday that “further work” was required before a decision on the need to acquire the properties was made, but could not elaborate because negotiations were ongoing. Gallery owners Sharon Ng and Roland Logan, who do not want to sell, have rallied support against likely government acquisition. Cera said last year that plans to incorporate the building and the neighbouring CBD Bar building into the stadium design were being considered. Ng said yesterday she was still hopeful the gallery could remain. “We intend to stay and I think [the CCDU] intend for us to stay as well,” she said. Not having a definitive decision was “good news”, Ng said. “We’re not worried about it now. We’ll just carry on.”
The future of the CBD Bar site is not known because it is part of the Turners & Growers block. Co-owner Zak Cassels said he was “99 per cent” confident that the bar would remain. “Everything I know leads me to believe that this lovely heritage building with a successful business in it will survive whatever it is [the CCDU] have cooked up for us,” he said. “We’ve heavily invested in this building and we want to keep it. ”
Figures released in January showed negotiations were underway to buy 177 of the 847 sites needed for the green frame and anchor projects. As well, one site has been bought, two sales agreements have been completed, 16 sale and purchase documents signed by owners and agreement in principle reached with 19 parties.
Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said last year that landowners unwilling to negotiate with the Government on central-city blueprint buyouts would be told, “This is the offer, have a nice day.”
Source: The Press
Georgina Stylianou checks in with the Cassels family to see how the development of their new retail site is progressing. It took vision and a strong family to turn an historic tannery site into a Victorian Arcade.
What once was an industrial eyesore discharging chemicals into the Heathcote River will soon be a haven for shopping, dining and entertainment. And the multi-million dollar idea, the brainchild of Christchurch businessman Alasdair Cassels, will breathe even more life into Woolston.
Cassels is a man who loves beer and Christchurch. He revels in tales of settlers that travelled up the Heathcote River and reminisces about brewing beer with his children at his Sumner home.
“The best place in the world to live, in my view, is Christchurch,” he says.
Cassels, 62, was born in Northern Ireland and moved back to New Zealand in 1958. He studied engineering at the University of Canterbury before owning several maintenance, sandblasting and engineering companies. He then got into property and, in 1994, bought the historic tannery site – a 1.8-hectare section sitting between Garlands Road, Cumnor Tce, Tanner St and Maunsell St. The site, which dates back to about 1874, was “instantly attractive” to Cassels.
“It was the largest primary industry site of its type left and it tells the story of Christchurch . . . how trade started, the story of the river and it was very worthy of saving in my view.”
Cassels is now investing about $12.5 million to bring his Victorian Arcade to life.
“I’ve always loved the Victorian Arcades, similar to those in Melbourne and Sydney, and Christchurch has nothing like that.”
Cassels took the first step in 2009, when he, his son Zak and son-in-law Joe Shanks started the Cassels and Sons Brewing Company on the site and began making beer and distributing it to local outlets. Surprisingly they initially planned to knock the corner building on the site, which now houses The Brewery – the immensely popular bar which opened four months after the February 22 quake.
“We had the demolition contract prior to the February  earthquake but the building never came down . . . it’s a good job too because we were pretty buggered after the quake.”
But with the the help of former Christchurch politician Jim Anderton, Cassels got the attention of earthquake recovery boss Gerry Brownlee who backed The Tannery project and helped fast-track plans for The Brewery.
The trio also found the time to open Madras St bar and restaurant CBD last year. Both CBD and The Brewery had proved to be “very successful businesses” and profits were being redirected into The Tannery.
The first part of The Tannery development is set to open in March and will feature several well-known, earthquake-displaced Christchurch businesses, such as Smith’s Bookshop and inner-city fashion stores Where The Fox Lives and Dead Set.
When finished, the complex will house close to 70 tenants, including bars, restaurants, a music venue, gift shops, fashion stores, a hair salon, pilates studio, a tattoo parlour and an art gallery. “All the brick buildings have been rescued. It would have been a lot cheaper to wreck the whole lot but that’s not what I wanted,” Cassels says.
About 150,000 individual bricks have been removed from the buildings to make way for an up-to-code structural wall before they were laid back on top.
Cassels imported tiles from France, a roof from Israel and has sourced local and international woodwork and welding experts. In the Tannery, Cassels and Sons will have another bar and restaurant Gastronomy, a bohemian bar Sow’s Ear, along with a delicatessen. Gastronomy will echo the decor of Cassels’ beloved 100-year-old Sumner home, which was red zoned in the quake – a decision Cassels is fighting.
The family are also planning a new brewery, which is now being run by Joe Shanks, who first started dating Alasdair’s daughter Pippi 15 years ago.
So are the family a tight-knit group?
Cassels tells a story: “A long time ago I bought a 90-foot yacht and we all took a year off, the kids came out of school and we sailed around Spain and parts of Europe.
“We were chased by pirates and shot at by machine guns, so you could say we’re a pretty close, strong family.”
The Tannery Timeline
1841 – Captain E. Daniell explored the Estuary and sent boats up the Heathcote River.
1856 – Industry had been established on the river and Woolston became a trading centre.
1874 – Eight wool scourers and seven tanneries were established in Woolston. The largest of these was built by Gustav Lindstrom and later became the Woolston Tannery.
Early 1900s – The Woolston Tannery was using the trading name “Perfectan” and it had become the largest tannery in the area.
1959 – Woolston Tanneries went into receivership. The old brick buildings were used for small manufacturers and engineering businesses.
1994 – The site was bought by Alasdair Cassels.
2009 – Cassels & Sons Brewery Limited was founded and beer was brewed and bottled onsite.
2010 – Resource consent granted to convert the site into a brewery, bar and entertainment area.
2011 – February 22 earthquake severely damaged several buildings on The Tannery site. Plans were fast-tracked and The Brewery opened about four months later.
2012 – Further consents granted to change the use of the site for retail and entertainment. Plans developed to rebuild historic brick buildings.
2013 – Stage one of The Tannery will open in March
– © Fairfax NZ News
Source: The Press
Photo credit: News photo: John Kirk-Anderson / The Press / Fairfax NZ
Video credit: Daniel Tobin / The Press / Fairfax NZ
An historic waterway and industrial suburb
The Woolston Tannery was built circa 1870 from brick by Gustav Lindstrom, great-great grandfather of one of the Cassels Sons. The Cassels and Sons Brewery building stands on the banks of the Heathcote River. Prior to the arrival of the European the Heathcote River was a source of food for Maori. They called the River Opawaho and took from it fish, eels and wading birds.
In 1841 Captain Daniell explored the Estuary and sent boats eight miles up the Heathcote. Later the “Acheron” surveyed the area in 1849 followed by the brig “Pandora”. In 1859 an extensive report was prepared for the Admiralty and sailing instructions were published in the NZ Pilot. Extracts of the report include “The entrance to the Avon and Heathcote Rivers lies at the south extreme of the sandy beach of Pegasus Bay … As a means of conveying cargo between Lyttelton and the plains it is of great importance to the Canterbury Settlement and in moderate weather is accessible to vessels drawing eight to ten feet of water. Indeed, with no prospect of roads over the swampy ground it was the rivers, which decided Captain Joseph Thomas on the siting of the city of Christchurch.
The Heathcote could be navigated up to Wilson’s Bridge, though in practice the trade ended at the present Radley Street Bridge. Thus the Lower Heathcote in conjunction with Ferry Road soon became the main artery of the Canterbury Settlement. By 1856 industry had established on the River. In the building boom of the 1860’s and 1870’s eight million super feet of timber passed up the River annually.
By 1874 eight wool scourers and seven tanneries established in the Woolston Area, the largest of these was built by Gustav Lindstrom and is was later became the Woolston Tannery. There were also limekilns, brick works and timber yards. Goods were now being exported from Canterbury, via Lyttelton. The River was taking all this traffic and cargo! On 14th November 14, 1866, 15 vessels sailed from the River. With the building of roads and railways the River trade declined. The railway line was built through Woolston, close to the River, enabling the area to remain an important industrial suburb.
Woolston in 2012
The old tanneries went out of business in the 1950’s, Andersons in the 1980’s and Skellerup contracted around this time. Petrochemical storage and container parks took over much of Chapman’s Road. By the end of the 1990’s transport based industries had relocated to Hornby and an identity crisis loomed. A recent building boom has seen a turn around to the point where all the vacant land either side of Chapman’s Road has been developed. In the area of the Heathcote Loop, G L Bowrons and Independent Fisheries have expanded. The old Jubilee Hospital Building, together with its grounds is still intact. The Council have planted out a public walkway on the northern side of the River. The Loop is a very picturesque area and has a look and feel more like Hagley Park than a business five zone. Not being as prone liquefaction, the series of earthquakes has left the area reasonably unscathed. The Cassels & Sons Brewery is sited where the old Woolston tannery Gardens were on Garlands Road and the Council have granted resource consent for a 4,000 sm shopping and mixed use development on the Woolston Tannery site, which will retain the buildings, form and historic character of the iconic site.