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MEDIA RELEASE Monday 1st April 2019


Plans for a compact urban precinct in Nelson incorporating existing retail and office space on two of the city’s main streets is exactly the kind of intensification the city needs, says investor Cephas Property.

Around half of the space for the new urban infill precinct would come from existing retail and office space fronting Bridge Street (31-55) and Trafalgar Street (126), already owned by Cephas.

There would be multiple entrances connecting the precinct to the CBD, including open aired and roofed laneways. These entrances will spill people out onto Bridge and Trafalgar Streets stimulating and intensifying activity for surrounding properties and businesses.

Mr Baigent says: ‘This proposal would allow us to repurpose or replace existing retail floor space to ensure it trades more effectively. This is exactly the activity that should occur across the City.

‘The central city needs to move beyond outdated strip retail, and a whole lot of underutilised space that doesn’t serve the customer.

‘Retail is changing, with a stronger focus on customer experience. Our focus is to create a space that customers enjoy and want to visit, that will intensify the retail landscape and bring life to the heart of the city and re-energise it.‘

Nelson City Council is currently consulting on the possibility of selling approximately 2,425 sq m of Wakatu Square car park to Cephas to allow the development to go ahead. Nelson City Council have indicated at a minimum, car park numbers would not be reduced. Cephas Property would support more parking in the vicinity including multi-level car parking options.

Cephas Property has ‘strong interest’ from Farmers to be a potential anchor tenant. The move would allow Farmers to unify into one store, rather than the two it currently operates from, and provide a better offer and service to Nelson shoppers.  In total rental area, the Farmers tenancy would be the only additional floorspace created.

The urban precinct is not a mall in the traditional sense, says Cephas Property Managing Director Steve Baigent.

Mr Baigent says: ‘We are not proposing a large out of town suburban shopping centre, which is often what people see in their minds when they hear the word mall. This is not a mall – it would not suit Nelson, and it wouldn’t suit this site.’

Nelson’s urban precinct would have one third of the retail space of Richmond Mall, with smaller shops starting at 10 sq m providing affordable opportunities for small independent retailers. It will also include office space and dining options.

Mr Baigent said: ‘We are at very early concept stage, with multi-storey buildings, highly connected laneways with high rooves and lots of glazing connecting the precinct to the city, and a wider mix of large and small shops. The laneways will be relatively narrow, to provide an intimacy appropriate to the city –the scale is more akin to Nelson Central walkway off Trafalgar Street.’

Edges of the precinct will either be attractive streetscapes with active retail frontages, or glass looking into the common area. Other edges will integrate seamlessly with existing buildings.

Mr Baigent added: ‘By providing a high quality, intensified space and carefully curating and managing the mix and type of retail, we plan to increase trade and bring more people, more money, and new retailers to Nelson.

‘We also hope that our investment will encourage other landlords to invest, lifting Nelson’s game as a whole.

‘Across the retail industry, retailers are coming to the understanding that they need both online and bricks and mortar sales channels. I am confident Cephas can create a vibrant hub for Nelson that will be successful. That is why we are considering this major investment in the city.’