In 2014 the Crown sold the old police station to an optimistic local property developer, and high country farmer, Steve Norman.
Ngai Tahu had first option on the property, and had turned it down, and after a quick call from a local real estate agent, Steve was down signing the papers to purchase within a few hours of it being suggested to him.
About 15 years ago, Steve and his wife Katrina moved to Wanaka permanently, stepping away from the day to day running of the high country, fourth generation family farm, Gemlake Station, in Ettrick, and they have both been an integral part of the local Wanaka community ever since.
To say Steve is enthusiastic and optimistic is an understatement. He is a bit of a character around town, and he is known to talk and talk (and talk) about all sorts of subjects, to the point where sometimes you can’t get away from him, and are cornered in a cafe listening to his many ideas, theories, and opinions for hours. Katrina is a little more reserved than Steve, but is known for her incredible talent for gardening, great pins, and for tolerating Steve and his endless schemes and ideas.
One of these ideas that has always been a dream for him, is to somehow provide the local community with an international and modern take, on the dated philosophy of a shopping mall, but importantly, more of a mix of well thought out, and complimentary products, services and hospitality. Not only for consumers to enjoy, but to provide somewhere for the up and coming creative and driven people in the community, who are looking for space to exhibit, promote, and sell their products and ideas.
Along came the original 1970s police station, which he could see was situated on a large, unused and derelict site, in the middle of Helwick St, in the heart of Lake Wanaka. He knew it was the right time to take this opportunity, get involved, and help provide infrastructure and amenities for the fast growing population, and increasingly large amounts of tourists coming into this incredibly stunning and picturesque part of the world.
Steve & Katrina’s youngest son James is a registered architect, and he was quickly called on to help design the project. Their daughter Mel had been in hospitality in Dunedin for 10 years, and was thinking about selling her business Kiki Beware, and after Steve told her what he was wanting to develop in Wanaka, it seemed the perfect timing for her to sell up her much loved Kiki, and get back into her brand development & design background.
As a family and also small business operators, they have all collectively made a conscious decision to develop an original retail experience, and aim to execute it to the highest standard, by using local businesses, resources, and contractors.
It has been Mel’s job to listen to Steve and all his ideas, to watch him and how his businesses all work as a whole, and what makes him different to other developers. Steve & Katrina’s personal attributes and characteristics, and how they have operated their current and previous businesses, is what makes them stand out as business owners. By nurturing creativity, local community, various industry, big ideas, people, pushing boundaries, and most importantly, by building their businesses on solid relationships, is in turn what has influenced the philosophy, and story behind The Precinct.
Born from it’s previous life in 1970 as the local Wanaka Police Station, and modernised for the community as public shared spaces, with new retail and hospitality offerings, enclosed by it’s walls, and with an arbitrary and imaginary line running around the boundary, comes a new and exciting, unique and original, retail concept.
Encapsulating innate understated and elegant style, and unsurpassed beauty and attitude of the local region and community, and the preference of going out rather than staying in, comes The Precinct.
Coming Soon Early 2019.