What was once Napier’s ugliest building is now home to 5-star boutique penthouse

Not too long ago, this was regarded as the ugliest building in Napier.

A five-storey block that effortlessly merged the worst of brutalist architecture with 80s kitsch, it was also one of the city’s most earthquake-prone buildings.

Four years after the building was purchased by developer Jonathan Wallace, it’s a subtly stylish edifice that has been fully earthquake-strengthened, and which compliments the myriad single-storey art deco buildings that make this city famous.

On its top floor rests one of Napier’s newest, and thus far relatively little-known, gems; The Address, a three-bedroom penthouse apartment that feels a lot more Manhattan than provincial New Zealand.

Accessed by an elevator that opens directly into the living area, it’s a space of refined luxury. That is to say, it’s sufficiently full of fine art, Persian rugs, antique Chinese porcelain vases, mahogany furniture, crystal decanters etc. etc. to make any visitor know they’re surrounded by someone’s treasures, but not to the point they’d be scared to touch anything.

As chance would have it, a Hawke’s Bay businessman happened to be looking for an apartment in Napier around the same time Wallace was strengthening and upgrading the building (which had come to be known as the ‘Vero building’ after its last tenants).

“It was just a shell when I came here the first time, but I saw the potential straight away,” he said.

“I bought the fourth (top) floor and the mezzanine with a plan to make it my home. But I soon realised it was too big for that”.

“I’ve always been keen on the boutique hotel industry. It’s just always interested me. So when I decided I didn’t want to live here, I thought here was my chance to get into high-end accommodation,” he said.

It took nearly a year to complete the apartment, which opened as ‘The Address’ boutique accommodation in October last year.


First published by Stuff. Click here to read the full article.