Meet Clark, from Milton St Substation.

Introducing the owner behind this character Christchurch based event venue.

 

 In the latest edition of People Behind the Space, we catch up with Clark Mauger, from Milton St Substation.

This ex-powerstation was first built in 1928, and since then has been renovated to become an iconic, incredibly popular event venue. With high ceilings and exposed red brick walls, it's the perfect space to bring your event vision to life, and is versatile for a range of celebrations.

See more about Milton St Substation here

 

Milton St Substation

What inspired you to set up your space?

To be honest, I never planned on opening a venue. I saw the building for sale on TradeMe and bought it in its earthquake damaged state. During the renovations I started advertising it for long term lease, thinking a cafe/ coffee roastery or brewery/bar may want it. 

However nearing the completion of the renovation, no-one was willing to sign a lease. With a huge renovation bill, and no tenant, it was time to think of another solution. 

I knew it was a cool spot for a party, but it was when a friend said, "what a great place for a wedding" got me thinking. Initially, the thought of renting it out for events would be just a temporary income until a tenant came along. However, it felt like the building had a mind of its own, and its destiny was to become an events venue! The enquiries just kept coming (many thanks to sharedspace!) and before we knew it, we needed a Manager to run the business full-time. Basically, thats how Milton St. Substation was born and it now seems unnatural for it to be anything but an event venue.

 

What is your favourite part of the space and why?

The Mezzanine for sure. The 3 inside spaces which the mezzanine creates, ( above mezzanine, under mezzanine, and front double height lobby) is what gives the building its unique and versatile spaces, of which are used completely differently for each event. For example, you would think a wedding venue would be pretty cookie cutter, same ceremony spot, same first-dance spot, same speech spot. But it's incredible how different couples see Milton St completely differently. The mezzanine certainly allows this to happen. If it was just one big hall would be boring. 

Another reason it's my favourite part is that I love seeing how the different spaces establish different vibes, to give guests a full and exciting experience, all in one night. There could be a group laughing around the fire outside, a crowd dancing to a DJ under the mezzanine, people getting a drink from the bar in the lobby, and people lounging and chatting upstairs above the mezzanine. 

 

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Please tell us a bit about what other ventures you are also involved with (if any).

Recently I've built and opened Halswell Quarry Preschool. Again, has some fantastic spaces. We actually saved a magnificent existing magnolia tree right in the middle of the site, and built the preschool around it. We planted lots of pongas and natives, and by keeping it unkempt this created a more natural central green native jungle, one, which each of the rooms can look out on, but also go and use and connect with nature. Im stoked how it turned out and the children love it.

Next venture is a boutique commercial development also in Halswell, which will have an assortment of local retailers, cafe, restaurant, a grocer, and a shared community space too! So i'll have to hit you up to advertise it!

 

What has been the most interesting event held in your space? 

One really cool vibe was a recent 50th birthday. The whole building was decked out as a Moroccan lounge with house music pumping and complete with aerial performers on rings and silks.

 

Milton St Substation

 

Milton St Substation

Can you describe the community and types of businesses that use your space for corporate events? 

We have the full spectrum, from quirky and creative art exhibitions and fundraisers, to international corporate firms for product launches, and training seminars. 

 

If you could pick any three people in the world to work in your space, who would it be and why? 

Alex Balchin, Alex Balchin and Alex Balchin. Our current manager and a true unicorn. Alex has taken Milton St to a new level of service and professionalism. A true host. No wonder his nickname is Smiley.

 

Alex. Milton St Substation

Milton St Subtation's Manager - Alex Balchin.

What tips would you pass on to someone thinking about starting their own event space? 

It's the hospitality industry, be hospitable.

 

What are the most played songs at Milton St Substation?

Happy Birthday? 

  

 

Keen to read more about operating a shared space? Meet the dream team behind The Settlement.

 

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