New Brighton Residents Association was invited to catch up with Liz, Chris and Robbie Harris, the new owners of the Pierside block on Marine Pde housing the Penguin Arms,Spagalimis, Argo, Level One and South of India.
We were joined by Coastal City Councillor Celeste Donovan, Claire Cowles from the Home Foundation (building town houses on the Beresford St) and some of the local New Brighton businesspeople including Blair Hughes from Paper Plus and Donna Stewart from Switch Café.
The catch-up was part of the new owner’s keenness to “tune’ into the Coastal area and get feedback in respect to the Pierside building and land they have purchased.
Liz Harris who owns and manages a large residential apartment portfolio across Christchurch and Nelson which ranges from community social housing complexes, to high-end inner-city apartment buildings all designed around servicing individuals and couples looking to rent.
Brothers Chris and Robbie have investments and businesses both separately and together however Pierside is the first joint venture the three are looking to do together. They are all excited to put their heads together to do something special for the area.
We got to ask Liz why a commercial property and why New Brighton. The answer was clear, “my son Robbie spotted it and while none of us are really familiar or live in this area, we all recognised the potential of this site straight away”.
Since the purchase the Harris family have been on a fact-finding mission in the retail area talking to people and will be catching up with current tenants and other connected groups as soon as they can.
Robbie Harris indicated while they have some ideas around what could be done on the empty land, they want to investigate further and hear from the community before rushing into anything. Both he and his brother indicated they are all eager to get in and start making repairs, cleaning up, painting and improving the outdoor spaces. The family want to make the Pierside building a feature of the foreshore, and transform the space as the Mall develops by working with developers around them in a unified fashion to ensure the top end attracts people and fits with the library, playground, beach and hot pools.
Coastal Councillor Celeste Donovan says the latest investment purchase demonstrates there is growing interest not just in living in the Coastal environment, but a recognition of the business opportunities on our main beach frontage. She has heard of others looking to invest money here, and happy to be a point of contact to showcase the wonderful coastal area.
Ms Donovan says ‘Pierside’ will make a great counterpoint to the Hayden Clavis ‘Beach House’ development on the other side.