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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Move to heritage building is 'exciting', says owner

Definition of irony: The Grosvenor sat as an eyesore for years before it began a new life following the September quake.  It's come through all the thousands of aftershocks seemingly crack-free.

Move to heritage building is 'exciting', says owner

TAMLYN STEWART
Last updated 05:00 19/04/2011
 
Christchurch's Strategy Design and Advertising is making a bold move into a heritage building after February's earthquake damaged its Montreal St Strategy Building.

The Christchurch-based design and advertising agency is set to move into the old Grosvenor Hotel building on the corner of Moorhouse Ave and Madras St on May 16.

The group, which consists of Strategy Design and Advertising and NV Interactive, has about 60 employees in Christchurch, Auckland and Sydney.

Co-owners Geoff Cranko and Guy Pask secured a six-year lease for the Grosvenor Hotel building within a week after the February earthquake, and took a temporary lease in Riccarton so the business could keep running until construction work at the Grosvenor Hotel building had been completed.

Pask said it would be exciting to be in what was probably one of the last heritage buildings left in Christchurch.

"When we saw that building we saw a great opportunity," Pask said.

The business employs a lot of graduates from CPIT, and Strategy staff lecture and help design the courses at the polytech's design school.

Pask is chairman of the polytech's design course.

"We're literally right next door.

"For us it's a really good alternative to where we were," he said.

Part of the ground floor will be sub-let to a cafe wine bar aimed at helping to revitalise that part of the city.

"Being able to have good coffee, food and wine, we know we will get lots of students and teachers in there.

"We know that's going to be a key part of town."

The business' former premises, Strategy Building in Montreal St, was in the process of being demolished yesterday but Pask said the business was still committed to doing business in Christchurch and planned to remain long-term.

Competitiveness was not about geographic location but about attracting the best talent, he said.

"We really feel a lot of talent comes out of here."

And being so close to CPIT was an advantage.

"It's like having a creative lab right next door."

Pask said the developer, Les Cooper, had six other parties interested in the building but had been looking for a creative tenant who would add value to the building in terms of "style factor".

It was unlikely the business would lose any staff because of the earthquake, although one designer who had planned to move to Melbourne at the end of the year would probably go a little earlier. But the business has just taken on two new junior staff from CPIT and another staff member.

The company was "extremely busy", Pask said, as it did a lot of work for clients based outside Christchurch, or companies with a national spread which meant even if their Christchurch offices had been affected by the quake, the work kept coming.

Staff were looking forward to moving to their new premises, he said.

"It's been a really bright light on the horizon for everyone."

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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