24 January, 2013
Christchurch CBD progress encouraging
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says Christchurch businesspeople anxious to return to the CBD are understandably frustrated but should be heartened by the $145 million of consents issued over the past 10 months for construction projects inside the four avenues.
“This is a great vote of confidence from land owners that the Christchurch CBD has a healthy future, and I know those developing buildings will be equally anxious to give tenants a chance to move in,” Mr Brownlee says.
“I sympathise with business owners and staff who are tired of operating out of temporary quarters.
“We are at the beginning of a massive CBD build programme, and we are working hard along with the Christchurch City Council to ensure consenting for new premises is fast tracked.
“With 930 full or partial demolitions completed in the central city, 2013 will be the first big year of pouring concrete as we shift from demolition to construction.”
Mr Brownlee says he’s asked the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) to make a special effort to keep leasing agents fully abreast of timelines for completions of buildings and anchor projects so their clients can adequately plan their return to the CBD.
“The anxiety of businesspeople and staff for certainty is completely understandable.”
Mr Brownlee also says substantial progress will be made this year on a number of priority projects in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan: the Avon River Precinct; the Frames; the Convention Centre Precinct; and the Metro Sports Facility.
“In the case of the Avon River Precinct and the North and East Frames, we expect construction will begin in the next few months.
“Finalising designs which reflect the Share an Idea consultation process, completing land purchases and appointing suppliers is well under way,” Mr Brownlee says.
“CCDU has settled its first land acquisition, signed two further agreements, received signed sale and purchase documents from 16 land owners, and has reached agreement in principal with a further 19 parties.
“Negotiations are underway on 177 other properties, some of them well advanced, so altogether CCDU has made progress on 215 CBD sites, starting with those of highest priority.”
CCDU is well advanced through the planning process for the Convention Centre Precinct and will have all the land cleared by year’s end. Clearance of land required for the Metro Sports Facility will also begin this year, paving the way for construction in 2014.
Following a period of public consultation, which ends on February 1, the final Christchurch Central Recovery Plan’s draft transport chapter, An Accessible City, will be approved. Implementation of aspects of the new transport system to support the recovery will be evident in activities such as site clearing for the new Bus Interchange.
“Over the next 12 months CCDU will continue tendering for design and construction contracts, finalising plans for Anchor Projects and putting in the hard foundation work essential for construction to commence and be completed over the next five years,” Mr Brownlee says.