Solidifying a new business

It has taken six years for Jeannie Peebles to earthquake proof the whole building which is now an apartment getaway.

A six-year project to upgrade a feature building on Winton's main street has culminated with the opening of a new boutique accommodation option.

The Bank Manager's Apartment is a new getaway location based above Winton's BNZ Bank, which harks back to the Art Deco period that was popular when the bank first opened.

Owner Jeannie Peebles said the bank was originally built in the early 1930s, and additions to both sides and an extension out the back were established during the 1950s.

"The bank manager lived here... in 2003 it came on the market. I shifted here in 1985 and have always loved this building."

Ms Peebles purchased the building in 2003 and after the Canterbury earthquakes, BNZ required all of the New Zealand buildings to meet a new standard of at least 80%.

"I asked for the engineer's report... It's a brick building, we either had to strengthen it or 
move out."

Work to earthquake-proof the building included adding girders, and getting rid of the chimney, as well as other methods of strengthening, which began in 2012. 

"Now its a really solid block, it's 82% of the new building standard," she said.

Ms Peebles said it was a stressful time during that process but she wanted to succeed to ensure Winton wouldn't lose a business and end up with another empty building.

"I love where I live, I love Winton. We've got some very special people here in Winton."

What's left is now an Art Deco space ready for people to stay in, and Ms Peebles has already had a famous guest — cook Annabel Langbein, and her husband Ted Hewetson.

Ms Peebles oversaw the whole project and worked with local businesses for a variety of aspects.

"Lodge Electrical were amazing, I definitely tried to do what I could in Southland.

"I feel as if I've given the building a soul, it's got a nice feel about it."

Ms Peebles said it was ideally suited for people staying for a night or two at a time.

"It's total relaxation in the middle of Winton."


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