Wellington’s ‘urban factory’ creative business hub is taking shape on Taranaki St

A commercial and creative hub evolving in the heart of Wellington’s thriving Te Aro precinct will link together creative professionals with hospitality, food and beverage, high tech and entertainment businesses.

The brainchild of developer Alex Cassels – who was instrumental in the nearby Hannahs Lane and Egmont St revamps – the hub sits the corner of Manners and Taranaki streets and has attracted former tenants from those laneways including the “urban factory” of Fix & Fogg peanut butter and Six Barrel Soda on the ground floor.

Peoples Coffee are also expanding operations into the six-floor, earthquake-strengthened building which will also house the revitalised Radio Active, which faced closure this year before backers stepped into save it.

People will also be able to watch Fixx & Fogg and Six Barrel Soda being made when the adjacent Lukes Lane is developed with viewing areas.

Level 2 houses a new high tech hub featuring the virtual and mixed reality ProjectR centre and other businesses including the Wellington Culinary Events Trust, Haunt Digital, The Mixt and the Egmont St Eatery.

Cassels, who is steering the hub in the building owned by his developer father Ian Cassels, said the Te Aro area of downtown Wellington was the defining neighbourhood in the city and some of the most attractive and exciting buildings were those that had a variety of people and businesses working in concert.

His philosophy is the antithesis of Lambton Quay’s corporate and government-dominated uniformity.

“The identity of this building is a function of its occupants… it’s for the sort of people we want in Wellington, freelancers and those with imagination and conviction.”

Capitalising on Te Aro’s thriving hospitality and nightlife scene, a burgeoning number of office rentals and a massive boom in inner-city dwellers since 2001. Cassels said the area was growing organically unlike the government-based growth at the other end of town.

“It’s ideas-led and it’s the kind of growth we really want in Wellington,” Cassels said.

The building is currently at about 60 per cent occupancy and is expected to be full and finished by March.

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