​Historically significant Christchurch building restored in fine style.

by The REJIGIT Blog

The distinctive Georgian Revival architectural style building on the corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets in Christchurch was completed in 1927 for Henry Owen, the then proprietor of Pharmaceutical Chemists, Cook and Ross.

The building was purchased by the Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust in 1999 and became known as Isaac House. The Christchurch City Council cooperated with the registration of a conservation covenant on the site in 2002 and the building remains a Category 2 Listed Heritage Building with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

This writer operated a business in Armagh Street from the late 1970’s and well remembers regularly calling at the National Bank (sometimes avoiding the attention of the bank manager) which occupied the ground floor of Isaac House.

After the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the site was designated for a planned Convention Centre but fortunately the now-defunct Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority subsequently reversed the designation allowing Isaac House to be saved.

The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust abandoned plans to restore the building and it was sold to Auckland based property consultant and development company Studio D4. The restoration project took eighteen months and cost in excess of $1 million more than expected and proved to be more expensive than building new.

Studio D4 has developed the Vodafone and Kathmandu buildings in Christchurch's innovation precinct and they have restored the old Twisted Hop building on Lichfield Street which now houses Dux Central. They are also developing the adjacent Lichfield Lanes complex. Studio D4 is to be commended for carrying out what was obviously a complex and costly project resulting in Christchurch retaining a heritage building.

The impressively restored property has recently been purchased by Arnup and Sadhana Nathu who own and operate the Tandoori Palace restaurant chain and intend opening a new Indian restaurant within the building.