Need for diversity in our cities says Property Council head

 UDB project Retro Games Museum in Dunedin. Image: Justin Spiers.

UDB project Retro Games Museum in Dunedin. Image: Justin Spiers.

2016 saw strong economic recovery in cities and towns across New Zealand. But there remain plenty of vacant spaces

Architect, property developer and current President of the Wellington Branch of the Property Council of New Zealand Mike Cole is a welcome member of the Urban Dream Brokerage’s Advisory Board, with a real passion for the city's future.

“Wellington has come a long way from the relatively grey city it was when I arrived in 1982," wrote Mike to us. "Many people have put their heart and souls into making it the creative capital of New Zealand. All of our established companies here, be they in software or theatre, were founded by people passionate about both their particular field and about Wellington.”

"The work of Urban Dream Brokerage creates a win-win for property owners and innovative projects. These vacant properties are often then seen in a new light and leased post-event. Artists have a space for their projects which encourages diversity, a sense of community and public interaction in our cities.”

Urban Dream Brokerage has also been working with property owners, councils and communities in Porirua and Masterton.

"Our town and city centres rely on people being involved to grow their identity and character. As the economy recovers it can be even harder for new ideas to find space," says Mark Amery.

As at the end of 2016, working with 35 property owners, the Urban Dream Brokerage has filled more than 55 vacant spaces with innovative creative projects in Wellington city, Porirua and Dunedin. The majority have led to new tenancies.

“There have been 48 projects in Wellington alone, ranging from a ‘Moodbank’ – a place for Wellingtonians in a disused bank to register their moods – to a community-made giant iceberg, a koha café, an illuminated bike workshop and a “political hair salon”. In Dunedin recently over 3500 people in two weeks went to a Retro Games Museum in George Street, created from one man’s collection that usually fills two houses,” Mr Amery says.

Urban Dream Brokerage brings together commercial property owners with projects. Architect, property developer and current President of the Wellington Branch of the Property Council of New Zealand Mike Cole is a member of the Urban Dream Brokerage’s Advisory Board.

Recent 2016 Urban Dream Brokerage projects include the Lux Festival Light show Glade which attracted more than 5000 visitors to Clyde Quay Wharf, and in November a bold adaptation of a Shakespearean play set in the historic Grand Hall at the Public Trust Building, which has since been taken over by council as an Earthquake Response Centre.

“These uses of vacant space also provides a tangible way for property owners to contribute to the community,” Mr Amery says.