Christchurch starting to move

The Press reports:

The rebuild of ’s CBD is finally starting to happen, city leaders and investors say.

After a rocky few months where parts of the recovery blueprint looked like they were failing, a series of positive announcements are being labelled by some as the turning point of the rebuild.

Vodafone is expected be confirmed today as the anchor tenant of the innovation precinct, and at least two other private sector developments are in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, rumours that British high street chain Topshop could be coming to Christchurch are not being denied.

Earlier this month, Christchurch’s Carter Group announced it would rebuild the Crossing car parking building, providing much-needed certainty for would-be developers in the retail precinct.

The promised multimillion-dollar overhaul of the central city transport network was finally approved by the Christchurch City Council last week, and consultation with affected property owners and businesses would soon start.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said “key commercial arrangements” had been cemented recently and he expected more positive news to land in the coming months.

The first few tenancies tend to be the hardest, as you don’t want to potentially be alone. Once some large tenants have confirmed, it makes it easier for others to do so.

But Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend believed “things are starting to crystallise” in the central city.

Townsend also expected more positive announcements from both the private and public sector soon.

“I think we will find more information coming out of the Christchurch Central Development Unit that will promote investor confidence, and we will be hearing about some private sector developments in the central city too.”

Carter Group chief executive Mary Devine said the city was “at a turning point”, especially after its car-parking agreement with the council.

Carter Group bought the Crossing car park land off the council, and will manage the demolition of the existing building before building a 534-space car parking facility.

Devine said Carter Group was now “running flat out” with final design and planning of its $100 million Crossing development.

Nice to see progress.

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