It's more than 100 years old but an exciting future looms. SALLY BLUNDELL looks at plans for the Woods Mill building in Addington.
It is a place of pigeons and sparrows. Even before the earthquakes, the historic Wood Brothers Mill complex in Addington faced the world through broken windows, tagged walls and sodden armchairs slumping amongst the weeds.
'For it to be economic you have to look at what heritage buildings offer in terms of patina and ambience," says property developer Richmond Paynter.
"This is a proven concept around the world as industry moves into derelict areas. Look at the loft developments in New York or the waterfront developments in San Francisco and Sydney. People are drawn to places like that. They are fabulous assets we all like to enjoy.'
Paynter stands on the old brick courtyard in front of the former Wise St flourmill. In the late 1800s, when Sussex miller William Wood established the steam- powered mill close to the railway line, this paved forecourt was a bowling green for mill staff.
Since the complex was sold in 1970, the mill and grain store, designed by prominent Christchurch architects Joseph Maddison and the Luttrell Brothers, have been used as a bakery, artist studios, apartments and home and theatre for the Riccarton Players.
Despite damage to an end gable and the loss of a brick chimney and an adjacent grain silo, the buildings are remarkably whole.