WORDS Kim Newth PHOTOS Sarah Rowlands
Planning and delivering property development is his forte, designing inspiring spaces is hers. Together, Kris and Georgie Inglis are making an impressive contribution towards Christchurch’s soon-to- be-opened Riverside Market, in partnership with fellow business partners Mike Percasky and Richard Peebles.
Kris and Georgie spent 12 eventful years in Hong Kong before returning home with their three children in 2013. Running developments for the Goodman Property Group out of Hong Kong provided Kris with unprecedented opportunities, such as delivering one of the world’s largest warehouse buildings. Georgie had a productive time too, building on a successful sales career, working in the trade sector and even launching her own fashion label, Zeaki.
Back in New Zealand, she swapped fashion for design, after discovering a flair and fascination for transforming interior spaces. In Hong Kong, she had studied the ancient practice of Feng Shui and further honed her ideas and thinking via a Diploma of Interior Design at the New Zealand Design Institute. In 2016, she founded Christchurch design business, Kirkcaldie.
Kris, meanwhile, had “stumbled across” Mike, initially as a fellow property investor. They then decided to join forces and subsequently met Richard through Bill Willis, who had invited them to get involved with the $50 million McKenzie and Willis redevelopment at 181 High Street.
For interior design magic to complete The Little High Eatery, as part of that redevelopment, they turned to Georgie who worked closely with Mike to create an award-winning space that in 2017 won New Zealand’s Best New Food and Beverage establishment at the NZ Hospitality awards.
Working on the same projects has not caused any difficulties for this couple, whose professional and personal lives inevitably overlap.
“We work well as a team,” says Georgie. “If I’m working a full day, Kris can pick up the kids from school or drop them off to sport practice. We love that flexibility. We do sometimes ‘talk shop’ at home but it doesn’t dominate.”
Now on board for Riverside, Georgie is unfazed by the responsibility she shoulders for bringing the right atmosphere to the market’s common areas and associated cooking school. Both she and Kris are proud of what they are achieving for the inner city.
“It’s not very often that you get to work on something of this scale right in the centre of town that will hopefully become part of the soul of the city,” Kris says, who adds that he, Mike and Richard first came up with the idea of an inner city market for Christchurch several years ago and thought a riverside location would be ideal. When the current site came up through Ōtakāro, they submitted a detailed development proposal and got the green light.
“Some of the oldest markets in the world are in inner cities,” Kris notes. “People say we are being quite visionary but really the concept has been around for centuries.”
Georgie suggests the additional plus for Christchurch is that Riverside, on track to open in mid-2019, will bring a contemporary twist to the old formula. Unlike a traditional weekend farmers’ market, Riverside will be open seven days a week with permanent offerings including a butcher, bakery, fishmonger,
deli and fresh produce stalls. Various cafes, restaurants and food related outlets will complete a truly international smorgasbord, with complementary boutique retail provided at adjacent Riverside Lanes.