Ashburton’s newest and biggest commercial building, Westburn Courts, will house Bayleys Real Estate, Argyle Welsh Finnigan, FMG Insurance, and Rabobank.
The healthy state of Mid-Canterbury’s rural economy has seen four of the region’s leading service firms expand into new purpose-built premises in Ashburton.
Real estate agency Bayleys, legal firm Argyle Welsh Finnigan, FMG Insurance, and Rabobank have taken on leases at the newly-constructed Westburn Courts building on West Street.
Bayleys originally occupied office space in the original Westburn Courts building. However, the agency was forced to relocate after the building sustained significant damage in the 2011 earthquake and has spent the intervening period in ‘temporary’ offices in Somerset House.
Similarly, the former Ashburton branch of Rabobank on the corner of West and Tancred streets. was damaged beyond repair as a result of the 2011 quake. Rabobank relocated to temporary premises in Mona Square with Argyle Welsh Finnigan moving from the Havelock Street premises it has occupied for 28 years.
Bayleys Canterbury general manager Pete Whalan said the state-of-the-art Westburn Courts building had been designed to cater for the growth in staffing numbers the tenants had experienced over the past three years.
“For example, Bayleys now has nine salespeople, three administrative support staff, and a sales manager overseeing the residential, lifestyle, rural, commercial and property management sectors,” he said.
“Three senior salespeople from Property Brokers have recently joined Bayleys to bolster our capacity in the region. Jenny Gray has joined our residential sales team, Ray Knight is straddling both the residential and commercial sales sectors, while Mark Williams takes up the residential sales manager’s role.
“There has been a similar growth seen with Argyle Welsh Finnigan, which now employs 30 legal professionals and office administration staff – growing from 25 personnel a year ago.
“Westburn Courts is an endorsement in the long-term future prosperity of the region, based predominantly in the agri’ business sector,” Mr Whalan added.
“The synergies of having these tenancies in one central location also makes
good commercial sense – with many clients of the individual corporate entities having shared relationships and dealings with two or more firms.”
The two-storey West Street site has been a commercial cornerstone in Ashburton since 1880 when it was first occupied by auctioneers and grain and seed merchants H. Matson and Co. In 1920 the original building was replaced by what became Westburn Courts. That building was demolished in 2012.
The 1,261 square metre Westburn Courts building is owned by an Ashburton-based business consortium whose directors include of Argyle Welsh Finnigan principal Alister Argyle, Brian Davidson, his son Andrew Davidson, and Alistair Rooney.
The block was designed by Bill Skews of Skew Architecture, built by Ashburton firm Bradford Construction Ltd, and has a five-star energy efficiency rating.
Alister Argyle said the new Westburn Courts complex was a “breath of fresh air” for central Ashburton, and reflected the town’s economic prosperity.
“With clean, modern lines, and expansive windows on all sides letting natural light flood in, the new Westburn Courts building has been designed for maximum floor space efficiency – both for staff and visitors,” Mr Argyle said.
“Inside, the floor plate is very much open-plan - which allows a high degree of employee interaction. This is a global trend among corporates of all sizes and is designed to increase communication between staff.
“For visitors to these offices, it means a far less claustrophobic environment – making for a far more relaxed business environment.
“For all four tenants within Westburn Courts it was a relatively easy decision to make to be part of this new rural commerce hub.”