A Hamilton commercial development with literary flair

Housing developments proposed for Hamilton may choose to - or be required to - include a percentage of KiwiBuild homes. But they still need government approval 

The "Poet's Corner" development is the initiative of the Birds Plant and Equipment Trust. It is also the local name of the suburb, Enderley, where the development is being built, and which has several streets named after famous poets such as Shakespeare, Marlowe and Wordsworth.

The long-time Hamilton business was started years ago by the late Grahame Bird and his wife Thelma who ran operations such as T&G Bird uniforms in Garden Place, Coby Mufflers, several taverns and a gift store.

5 crossroads
Artist's impressions of the finished building in the Five Cross Roads in Hamilton East.
They also operated Bird's Liquorsave for 14 years with seven outlets and a wholesale division before they sold it to The Mill in 2005.

Trustee Raymond Bird said the family had acquired properties at Five Cross Roads, including what had been Hukanui Nurseries site, over the past 20 years or so.

The area, totalling about 5500 square metres and with entry off Peachgrove Rd and Fifth Ave, was backed by housing on two sides, which constricted its use.

However, rezoning as commercial-suburban in the most recent Hamilton District Plan allowed development to proceed.

Site works began late last year with design by Chow Hill Architects, and Naylor Love as lead construction contractor.

All the building, other than one 60sqm shop, has already been tenanted with businesses including Anytime Gym, Vivo Hairdressers and kebab outlets.

Construction includes the use of Speedwall, a galvanised steel sandwich with aerated concrete filling designed to give the sound proofing needed for separate tenancies and a 120-minute fire rating.

Another important design attribute, is the use of feature columns made of red bricks salvaged from the 2016 demolition of St Mary's Presbytery and more reclaimed bricks brought from Christchurch.

5 Crossroads commercial development
Raymond Bird outside his family's development.
"When I was in the liquor business the Five Cross Roads round-about was carrying about 30,000 vehicles a day. It was one of the best retail spots in Hamilton. It's centrally located, a conduit into the central city for the traffic from the north-east, and it has about 10,000 school pupils at schools within a 2km radius. It's not far from Claudelands and near Davies Corner."

Another attraction of the Five Cross Roads area was the potential for urban renewal, Bird said.

"There's a raft of land about with ageing housing on large sections and we're likely to see a big increase in infill housing. We hope to change the face of Poet's Corner.

"For us it's a long-term family trust investment with multiple income flows."

Stage One of the Bird Family Trust Poet's Corner redevelopment will be followed by an adjacent restaurant, and later, an apartment building.

From Stuff.co.nz