New Developments in the Remuera Shops
Meanwhile development is underway on the old Browns site at 411-413 Remuera Rd.
The site of the original Remuera Public Library (1915) is being added to by new owner Megan Jaffe Real Estate, who sent out the following press release:
“Resource Consent was granted on 23rd of May 2016 and Stage one of 3 Building consents on 15th July 2016. While the building was in a dubious state of structural repair the restoration will be in keeping with is 1929 architectural look and feel.
Megan Jaffe Real estate Ltd will be located in this tasteful three storey restoration and build. Noise, dust and traffic management plans have been discussed and approved by Council and every effort will be made on a daily basis to minimise inconvenience for store owners and shoppers. All neighbours are respected and valued and will continue to be consulted and updated.
Demolition is well underway and expected to be completed by the end of the month. Upcoming milestones included ground works, the establishment of a crane and mid-September the commencement of piling. The target practical completion date is late April 2017.”
It is good to see the heritage origin and integrity of the exterior of the building being maintained.
411 and 413 Remuera Road were formerly occupied by Browns women’s fashion until early 2016.
413 Remuera Road was the site for many years of Russell’s Drapery. Mrs S M Russell widowed and with two boys to support, first opened business in 1933. As she later told the N Z Herald (23 July 1971) “I didn’t know a thing. I had to learn to be tough, and not too trusting. But what I don’t know now isn’t worth knowing. I hate giving up.” While acknowledging that the shop was somewhat “higgle-piggle”, she noted that lots of elderly people seemed to like that: “And I liked just being an old-fashioned draper”.
When she announced her retirement in July 1971, many local residents felt the loss acutely. Elizabeth Harker (nee Dove) recalls that the grandmotherly Mrs Russell, replete with glasses and hair in a bun, always provided friendly service from her narrow, intriguing shop, and that she could always miraculously find what customers requested, despite the unusual shop layout. Mrs Russell’s son Allan, a civil engineer, took over the drapery for a time, but it eventually closed in 1975. Her other son, Jack, for many years owned the Remuera Hardware shop at number 413, next to his mother’s drapery. This too closed in 1975, thus ending the Russell family’s long-standing presence in the Remuera retail sector.
The site of the old Remuera Post Office (now ANZ Bank) and attached shops is being redeveloped by the owner Loris Properties. The current two-storeys are being added to with an extra storey made up of cubes, which the owners say are designed to be quite different from the neighbouring and surrounding buildings.
Although the building is not listed or protected with Auckland Council or Heritage New Zealand, the old Post Office is iconic to Remuera and is being retained with a new verandah to be constructed along the extent of the Remuera Road and Victoria Avenue retail frontages. The verandah will have a maximum height of 4m above the pedestrian footpath and will be constructed from a glazed/transparent material to ensure better visibility of the building from pedestrian level.
The Remuera Residents Association is addressing significant traffic issues on the corner of Remuera Rd and Victoria Avenue and a reduction in the number of onsite parking spaces at its AGM on 30th August 2016.