Plans for business precinct

Plans are afoot to transform the Gorge Rd business zone into a ''creative and urban'' hub, dubbed the ''Silo project''.

Plans were unveiled last week by landscape and urban design architects Baxter Design Group, Christchurch-based architects Nott Architects and realtor and development manager Buzz Scown. A consent application is to be submitted in the coming weeks.

Concept plans for Silo were presented to the Queenstown Lakes District council urban design panel for review in December.

The site, opposite Wakatipu High School, is home to the Carter's building within the Gorge Rd business zone.

That building is scheduled to be vacated and demolished in June.

Plans for the 3000sq m site include a building with a double-storey road frontage and three storeys to the rear of the site, along with extensive parking for hospitality, retail, industrial and office activities and a shared parking area.

Mr Scown said he was liaising with several potential tenants ''eager to become a part of Queenstown's new `revitalised-industrial' precinct''.

Silo was attracting ''innovative, edgy companies'' which ''fit the industrial look we're creating'', he said.

Architect Charlie Nott said Silo would epitomise the early European industrial style seen in some mixed-use developments in the United Kingdom and United States.

''Silo is a unique proposition that perfectly marries modern high-tech construction with industrial design that stays true to the area's heritage,'' he said.

Paddy Baxter, of Baxter Design Group, said Silo would be ''functional with an industrial and quirky feel''.

Buildings would be broken up by use of different materials and gable forms to ''reduce the perceived feel of bulk and scale''.

''Detailing is being discussed further with individual tenants, though we anticipate that the signage and the general site character, while being controlled, will be random and industrial in appearance, giving the impression of refurbishment over time.

The trio had already scoured New Zealand for recycled materials to be used to create the urban industrial look and feel.

It was hoped, subject to consent, construction could begin in June and was expected to take 12 months.