Container city for the CBD

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Containers have become an accepted source for a number of uses – accommodation, building sites, commercial storage. And now they have been used to create a pop-up retail complex in the Tauranga CBD to fill the gap as the council works through its Heart of the City redevelopment.

New container city Our Place Tauranga showcases the diversity, adaptability and unique design aesthetic shipping containers can bring to an inner-city urban space.

The food, entertainment and social hub is made up of more than 30 containers that vendors have fitted out and made their own.

When the council demolished the old administration building on the corner of Willow and Hamilton Streets, it provided an opportunity to create a vibrant space in the city centre suitable for socialising and community events.

The council’s city transformation chair Larry Baldock said it was a great addition for Tauranga.

“There is a lot of change happening in our city centre and Our Place is a space that offers a transitional example of where we want to be heading, with plenty of community involvement and activity, and a great space to connect
with others.”

Royal Wolf, Australasia’s largest supplier of shipping containers, worked with Our Place Tauranga creators Little Big Events and the Tauranga City Council on the planning, design, and engineering requirements for the venue in the heart of Tauranga.

The company, which specialises in the hire, sale and modification of shipping containers, supplied the containers for the project, including a mix of open side, standard, and pedestrian walkway

The 20 and 40-foot containers form the structure of the container city, allowing individual tenants to fit out the containers and spaces according to their requirements.

“For a project like this, containers are ideal because it means they can be adapted and fitted out to suit a tenant’s individual needs – be it for a café, a retail outlet, or an entertainment-meets- community space,” said Paul Creighton, Royal Wolf executive general manager.

Containers were chosen for the project because they are strong, secure and have an industrial chic aesthetic that suits a central city environment.

The Tauranga project highlights the acceptance of shipping containers as more than just steel boxes that are used to transport goods, said Creighton.

“They really are a diverse and adaptable product to work with and their highly portability nature is a key part of a container’s appeal.”

Little Big Events director Chris Duffy said Our Place Tauranga tapped into the council’s Heart of the City campaign and had already transformed the area into an eating and shopping destination.

“The idea of Our Place Tauranga was to enliven and revitalise the inner city and it has done that to the point where there is a micro economy establishing itself and locals are loving it.”

Royal Wolf has been involved in a number of similar projects, including the Underground Market on Wellington’s waterfront, the Queens Wharf retail and food village on the Auckland waterfront and Christchurch’s post-earthquake Re:START Mall.

Creighton said the Re:START Mall was an example of how to create a vibrant public space out of containers.

“It set a standard and showed how containers can be transformed into an efficient yet stylish hub with a diverse range of services on offer for members of the public.

“Our Place Tauranga takes it to the next level and it is going to be a huge asset for Tauranga and it will act as a magnet to encourage people into the centre of town.”

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