Project spotlight: A rosè future

What was once the Mills Reef winery is now the toast of The Vines at Bethlehem retirement village in Tauranga-Moana Tauranga. The three-level 2500sqm The Vines Clubhouse is a thoughtful, scrupulously executed project that manages to balance the technical with the beautiful, the practical with the sustainable.

It represents preservation of the original winery building, but with extra space and all the necessary bells and whistles.

The creative conversion and addition required outside-the-box thinking to preserve and honour the 1980s replica art deco building, while tailoring it to meet the needs of older residents. It
also had to dovetail with the rest of the luxury lifestyle community and its 191 villas.
How did the company behind the project, Classic Developments, pull it off? With considerable innovation, given the existing building was non-compliant and limited structural design information was available.

A key challenge, says Classic Developments Director Peter Cooney, was melding the existing column-and-beam construction with the new steel portal frame of the extension. Services were added, such as lifts, fire protection, lighting and fireplaces, and exterior accessibility was created with allocated parking at the front door and ramps to the front and back of the Clubhouse. Inside, doors, doorways, lifts and gradients were designed to be wheelchair compatible.

From the outset, says Cooney, consultation and collaboration with residents was key — and that has paid dividends for everyone involved. A survey at the end of 2022 found 98 per cent of residents felt The Vines Clubhouse was an important part of the village, and 90 per cent were satisfied with the amenities.

The long list of facilities includes a theatre, bar, hairdresser, wellness centre, library, arts and crafts room, workshop, pool and snooker rooms, indoor bowls, function room, swimming pool and gym. Some of these can also be used by the wider community, and the cafe is open to the public.

Just as important was the idea of social connectivity. Integration of features such as sound-proofing, hearing systems and careful placement of spaces like the pool and snooker rooms all add to the ambience and comfort of The Vines Clubhouse, which is very much a part of the village
but separate enough to have its own distinct presence.

While the development was carefully tailored to residents’ needs and wants, Classic Developments also recognised the importance of environmental design principles and of reusing existing materials wherever possible. After all, this was the team that recognised the value in the existing winery building and opted to preserve it, rather than demolish it.

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“The Clubhouse retains the essence and character of the original building, paying homage to the site’s origins, including its name, and leveraging this to provide identity and distinction to The Vines at Bethlehem retirement village,” says Cooney.

Focusing on maintaining the building’s character and retaining as much of the original fabric as possible also helped reduce the need for additional materials. Some concrete, however, was crushed and used as fill material, steel was recycled and repurposed, a basement concrete slab was maintained, and the plaster system was cleaned and given a fresh coat. Concrete walls were stripped, lined and insulated, and double glazing added. Any new materials had to be sustainable and durable.

Forward thinking has ensured that The Vines Clubhouse is large enough to accommodate more residents, should more villas be added. If this project were a wine, it would be a delicious blend with notes of history, luxury and sustainability.

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THE VINES AT BETHLEHEM CLUBHOUSE

143 Moffat Road, Tauranga-moana Tauranga

OWNER THE VINES CO
DEVELOPER CLASSIC DEVELOPMENTS
CONSTRUCTION, QUANTITY SURVEYOR CBC CONSTRUCTION
ARCHITECT, BUILDING ENCLOSURE ENGINEER ASSEMBLE
SERVICE ENGINEERS FLUID ENGINEERING CONSULTANCY, AOTEA ELECTRIC BOP, AMP’T GROUP
MECHANICAL ENGINEER AMP’T GROUP
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER E3 CONSULTANTS NZ
PROJECT MANAGERS CBC CONSTRUCTION, CLASSIC DEVELOPMENTS
OTHER CONSULTANTS SABIA DESIGN

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