The much-anticipated opening of the Kmart complex in Invercargill took place in the last week of November this year. The project was spearheaded by Auckland-based development company Windermere Holdings. From the onset, Windermere was seeking a suitable site near Invercargill’s CBD on which to build. After negotiations with the city council, a tract of land bordering Forth, Liddel and Wood Streets was purchased for the project.
Due to its relatively small size – a 5300m2 section – the complex was conceived to be a two-storey facility with car parks situated on the ground floor and anchor tenant Kmart along with other tenancies occupying the first level.
Windermere approached us as their preferred design and build partner and contractor for the project and handed over a rough hand drawn sketch to our design team to turn what Windermere envisioned into a real-world buildable structure.
The design itself needed to accommodate the lay of the land, and more particularly, a waterway that abutted the site. So, our design team, in conjunction with outside engineering consultancy, came up with the idea of a precast concrete seawall solution – a retaining wall that figured prominently into the final design of the structure. And since Kmart are the key tenant, our team were careful to take elements of their brand and incorporate it into the final look, which made use of painted precast concrete panels and coloured PIR insulated panels that match the Kmart colour scheme.
The complex includes not only Kmart itself, but eight other tenants, making for a unique indoor mall experience. As the design got finalised, it was determined that three of the satellite tenants could be located on the first level and the remaining five could be situated on the ground level – adjacent to an undercover car park capable of accommodating 147 vehicles.
The look and feel of the completed project is bold and striking, with a 9 metre tall glazed section at one of the complex’s corners, that makes for a spacious and well lit atrium style entrance. On the first level, where Kmart is situated, the decision was made to defer having a dropped ceiling and instead leave it open to have the vaulted roof showing. Seen as a whole, the complex has an impressive presence. As the local retail manager for Kmart remarked “it’s our best looking store in NZ”.