Updated photos included – see end of original post
Although we’ve just recently posted about Apartments being the green shoots of economic recovery, we weren’t exactly sure if that was true. Is that a proven fact, or just another Eye of the Fish pescatorial scheme? Well, probably neither. But we didn’t think that our economic theory would get another item of proof just the next week.
And so, with a big hello to all the ReMax twitterers out there receiving our feed, we bring you the latest incarnation of the site where the Tattoo Museum was in Abel Smith St – yes, it is now proposed to be the Tattoo Apartment site. Interestingly, it is to be just 4 stories tall – way below the 9 stories that the tacky Orange apartments have achieved just across the street (next to the Southern Cross).

Tattoo hasn’t officially launched yet – hope we haven’t burst your bubble but someone forwarded us the info – and the developer (unknown) proposes that these are to be a total of 36 apartments, each double height 50m2 studios each. Designed (of course) by local small apartment supremos ArcHaus, these studios are going to be small, but actually liveable. 50m2 is nothing to sneer at for a one/two person flat – in fact, it meets the guidelines that the Mayor of London set down (our full article here) so maybe ArcHaus have been taking on board the minimum size suggestions.
Well done to Mike Cole and Taylor Pressley for the design – and for the proposed massive graffiti style elevations to the north and south – and fantastically well done to the developer for not going all out with a volume hugging monster like many of the dogs around town. Wigan is just a small street, and needs a bit of space – which this scheme provides. With prices around the $300k mark, they’ll probably sell fast – if anyone can get the finance.
Yes, it’s formulaic, and is just a simple row of little double storey boxes, but it’s a far better space on offer than many of the little hovels that have been built or proposed nearby. Being on the site of the old tattoo studio, and with hookers plying their wares on the next corner, it’s a pretty gritty funky urban site and is bound to see some noisy street action, but it seems just the right sort of response to the site. My only gripe would be that they haven’t left a space for Mr Maddock and his Tattoo Museum on the ground floor.

In fact, I can’t really figure out why there isn’t a commercial use of the whole ground floor. Wigan St is one of the last places left in Te Aro where uses such as panel beating, and light industrial uses still abound – it’s a vital resource for inner city dwellers, where I would take my mighty V8 for a refit – if I had one. With schemes putting apartment lofts at ground level, this will tend to drive another nail in the light industrial coffin, and a bit of multiple use wouldn’t go amiss here. Especially if it is a low rent space suitable for a Body Shop – no, not the smelly panda-free stuff, I’m talking Car bodies or Tattooed bodies.

Thanks to the power of the internet, world wide media, and helpful eager persons, we can now bring you an update on the previous scheme. The project has not yet got Resource Consent, although I’m sure that won’t be too hard to get as it has no issues with the height limit. Interestingly, of course, it has no parking – most small apartment schemes have a small number, but here, you’ll be right at the centre of the action, and so aren’t likely to need one. But if you do: currently, the only 3 free carparks in the whole of Wellington Central CBD are in Wigan St. Expect them to get fought over more once this baby goes up.
Of more relevance however, is that the issues of people living at ground level on a busy corner have been addressed a little, and apparently the scheme’s proponents are indeed looking at a Retail unit on the most prominent corner, with grade separation, fencing and a small setback for other exposed living units. I think there could be a more imaginative solution here though. The phrase ‘live-work’ unit often gets bandied around, but to really make it work it needs to be worked at, made relevant, and decent provisions made. I’d agree that Retail is not really the answer there – but small home style businesses such as graphic designers, architects, and yes, even tattooists would fit in well there.