Luxury apartments for Christchurch

getimage (15)Christchurch’s tallest post-quake apartment complex is about to take shape opposite Cranmer Square. To be called West Kilmore Precinct, a $40 million plus complex will be erected 11 storeys tall with apartments priced between $450,000 and at least $1.2 million. The site is the corner of Kilmore St and Cranmer Square where Ernst and Young House stood before the quakes.

Christchurch property developer Grant MacKinnon is behind the project. His previous projects include the now-demolished Gallery Apartments in Gloucester St. MacKinnon has an investor he does not wish to name, but confirmed it was a local now living overseas. Although building height restrictions in the area were lowered to 11 metres in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, MacKinnon has existing use rights to build more than twice as high.

West Kilmore Precinct will consist of four buildings with different heights. Stage one will have 15 one and two bedroom apartments priced from $450,000 to $950,000, and is due to be finished in winter. Stage two will be two-connected buildings finished in mid-2017. They will be 11-storeys high with 35 apartments of up to three bedrooms and priced from $500,000 to $1.2 million. The third stage had not been finalised but would have six ‘‘higher end’’ apartments.

getimage (16)The complex will be full height facing north, with roof heights stepped down towards the south. MacKinnon bought the property in 2012 with the apartment plan in mind. He believes it is one of the best sites in the city, with views over both Cranmer Square and Hagley Park. About 20 of the apartments are pre-sold or under option. However he described the highend apartment market in the central city as difficult. ‘‘It’s a hard market to work in. Lots of people are looking and some are buying, but they’re careful”. ‘‘But we are appealing to some people. It’s a small number and there is still some nervousness about coming back into the central city but that’s rapidly falling away.’’

MacKinnon said he was pleased to see other apartment developments in the area. These include developer New-Urban Group’s Chinese-backed low-rise 30-apartment plan for the old Cranmer Courts site across the road, and the eight-storey Verve Precinct apartments going up to replace The Est@blishment on Peterborough St. ‘‘It’s encouraging that other people are doing it as well, as long as they do it right,’’ MacKinnon said.

Other apartment developments have failed to get traction, including the Miro complex planned for Colombo St and the Crown-run Breathe urban village project opposite Latimer Square. Real estate agent Mark O’Loughlin of Harcourts, who is marketing West Kilmore and specialises in central city apartment developments, said demand was coming from younger owners or investors wanting ‘‘affordable’’ apartments, and ‘‘younger baby boomers’’ looking for a lifestyle.

There was very little demand for family apartments in the central city, he said. O’Loughlin said there seemed to be a recent groundswell of buyers looking at inner city apartments, and he had sold more in the past six months than at any time since the quakes.

Source:

  • The Press
  • Liz McDonald
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Innovation Precinct draws them in!

getimage55It’s considered the star performer of Christchurch’s anchor projects. And it has taken the gravity effect – of larger bodies attracting smaller ones around them – to make it work. The Innovation Precinct has several buildings taking shape around the corner of Tuam and High streets. While anchor tenants gear up to shift in, smaller operators are rushing to book space alongside them. As a result, an estimated 1500 office workers will be in the precinct by next year.

Broadly designed as part of the city’s 2012 blueprint, the precinct is intended to be a cluster of knowledge, software, electronics and other tech-type businesses. Mixed-use zoning rules mean cultural and educational groups and restaurants and bars can join them. Public spaces and laneways created by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) will intersect the precinct, making space for work and play.

The precinct got off the drawing board when Auckland developers Studio D4 spotted land around the old Lichfield Lanes complex, signed up Kathmandu and Vodafone as tenants, and got approval for two new buildings. It then handed the project onto southern-based developer Calder Stewart. Others have followed. Christchurch developer Peebles Group took on the wrecked McKenzie and Willis building opposite and is putting up two new buildings behind its heritage facade, and renovating another on the site.

The old ANZ Chambers site on the High-Lichfield corner has just been sold for development, and a new project is understood to be proposed for the Excelsior site opposite. Hospitality businesses have also taken the leap of faith. Tenants including Brick Farm and Dux Central have joined existing operator C1 in taking space in repaired buildings, while others such as Joe’s Garage have leased space in those still under construction. CBRE leasing agent Bonnie Stone said the precinct was filling a gap in the market. Rents and operating costs were lower there than in other parts of the rebuild.

Stone said the culture was attracting ‘‘smaller less-corporate businesses, and tech businesses who want to be near the likes of Vodafone and Wynyard’’. ‘‘It’s a slightly different model to what’s being built in other parts of the city centre. With the new and refurbished old buildings and cool spaces, it’s not like where the big accountants and law firms are going. ‘‘We want everyone to come back in, not just the big tenants, to create the lively city everyone wants.’’

Fellow agent Ryan Geddes, of Savills, said the precinct had ‘‘really good legs’’. ‘‘It just took off with the commitment with the bigger firms.’’ First finished will be the Kathmandu headquarters and the carpark building, complete with art display screens, next door. Both have March completion dates. The Vodafone building and the Cera courtyard alongside it will be ready in April, and the Wynyard precinct opposite will be finished about September.

Meanwhile, the Government and Canterbury Development Corporation’s GreenHouse incubator for fledgling information tech businesses has opened, alongside hospitality places. Studio D4 has one last development planned in the block – a new office building three or four storeys high. Also going in are the Information and Communications Technology Graduate School, and government agency Callaghan Innovation.

The opening of the precinct is likely to trigger occupation of upper High St, which has stayed fenced off since the quakes. Paul Naylor, co-owner of Studio D4, said it just took a few bold businesses to encourage others to commit to space in the precinct. ‘‘I don’t think any one wanted to be there all alone in a desert. But now there’s a lot happening and it’s looking great – by next year we are going to have a prime area. ‘‘People have rushed to it, it’s fantastic.’’

Source:

  • Liz McDonald
  • The Press

SCIRT, an update

getimage (7)The multi billion-dollar programme to fix Christchurch’s broken roads, bridges, footpaths and underground pipes is more than three-quarters complete.

But do not expect to see an end to the road cones and detours any time soon.

‘‘There is still a big programme to deliver even after Scirt winds up in December 2016,’’ said Christchurch City Council infrastructure rebuild general manager John Mackie.

The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt), which is funded by the council and the Government, has completed 78 per cent of its repair and rebuild programme and should have the balance of its work wrapped up by the end of next year.

As at the end of August it had repaired or replaced 420 km of wastewater pipe, 42 km of stormwater pipe, 79 km of freshwater pipe, and more than 1 million square metres of road.

It has also fixed or replaced 84 pump stations and reservoirs, 126 bridges and culverts, and 124 retaining walls.

That work has so far cost $1.72 billion. It is forecast another $472.5 million will be spent between now and the end of the programme.

Scirt executive general manager Ian Campbell said the team was working very hard to ensure it had all the construction it was scheduled to do completed by the December 2016 deadline.

Scirt’s priority had been to fix the worst of the damage first, starting in the east, but as the programme moved towards conclusion more work would begin in the city’s west.

With most of the major repair projects either completed or under way, some lower priority jobs could be tackled.

‘‘We are now getting into more patch repairs and trenchless stuff. The work is becoming more patchy and piecemeal so what that will look like for people is they will see us moving around a bit more. The traffic management will change more often because we’ll be doing small amounts of work in more locations,’’ Campbell said.

‘‘We appreciate the support of the community . . . It has been a long slog for them putting up with the road works and we just hope we can count on their support for one more year.’’

Mackie said he was ‘‘reasonably satisfied’’ with the progress that had been made on repairing and rebuilding the city’s damaged horizontal infrastructure, but there was still a lot to do.

Not all of that work would be covered by the Scirt programme because of funding constraints.

‘‘Not everything in the city will be fixed. There will still be work to do,’’ Mackie said.

‘‘The biggest issue is funding. We could do so much more if that wasn’t a constraint, but we have to work within the means of the organisations – Crown and council.’’

Once Scirt was wound-up, responsibility for any outstanding repairs would fall to the council.

It was working on a programme to prioritise those repairs and would start with main arterial roads before turning its attention to small collector and local roads, Mackie said.

Source:

  • Lois Cairns
  • The Press

5 years since Christchurch changed

getimage (5)Five years ago today, 436,000 lives in Canterbury changed.

We did not know by how much or when we might return to normal, but we can agree that the upheaval started with a 7.1-magnitude earthquake 40 kilometers west of Christchurch just after 4.30 am on September 4, 2010.

The devastating aftershock that struck the city nearly six months later changed Canterbury on a much larger scale, but September was the start.

How do you measure and define the recovery? Dollars spent? Time elapsed? There is no right answer.

In truth, there are 436,000 different recoveries happening at once – one for every resident of Christchurch city and the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.

No two versions of recovery are the same.

We have each taken stock of the process countless times and probably arrived at different conclusions for how the recovery is faring.

In the interests of providing the fullest answer possible, the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (CECC) asked a cross-section of key players in the rebuild to report their progress by a handful of measures, including project size, completion date and value. Dozens responded.

This year, perhaps for the first time, that snapshot hints at conclusion. The Earthquake Commission has completed 97 per cent of its 69,081 building repairs and 80 per cent of 150,735 land claims. More than 80 per cent of all quake insurance claims are settled, according to the Insurance Council of New Zealand. The Stronger Canterbury Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) is 76 per cent through it $2.2 billion job of repairing the city’s roads and pipes. Almost all of the work in the central city (96 per cent) is finished.

The CECC asked respondents when they expected to finish their work. Some major projects, including the central city bus interchange and the ‘‘Deloitte’’ building on Cambridge Tce, are already finished. Next year looms as a big leap forward with a cluster of retail developments – the BNZ Centre, the ANZ Centre on the old Triangle Centre site, the Crossing and the Terrace – all scheduled for completion.

‘‘I would think by the end of next year, October 2016, when the heart of that central city retail offering is up and operational . . . you’re going to see a major shift,’’ CECC chief executive Peter Townsend said. ‘‘You’re going to see people coming back into the central city in ways that we haven’t seen for five years.’’

A Cera report from July estimated the rebuild – measured as progress in residential, nonresidential and civil construction – was 41 per cent complete. Of the three categories, only residential construction spending was trending down. The other two were steady or climbing. The peak for all construction in the city (including business-as-usual building) is shaping as the last quarter of 2016, when Cera estimates $1.3b will be spent.

The idea the rebuild was already peaking was ‘‘fallacious’’, Townsend said. He puts progress at somewhere between 35 and 40 per cent. The decline, when it did come, would be gradual. ‘‘We’re not going to fall off a cliff. The Government’s assessment of the end of this earthquake recovery phase is 2026. We’re going to taper off.’’

In construction terms, Cera estimated that would translate to a decline from the late 2016 spending peak to about $500m in the final quarter of 2021. By then, Christchurch will have almost spent all of the $40b recovery bill.

‘‘That [spending] has an impact on the future of Christchurch that I don’t think people have factored in,’’ Townsend said. ‘‘I’ve often been challenged by people saying ‘We’re only replacing what we’ve lost.’ No we’re not. It’s all new. We are recreating a city.

‘‘I don’t know anywhere in the world where $40b has been tipped into a population of 360,000 people to recreate a city. It’s unique.’’

The bulk of the money will filter through the economy via insurance payouts (according to the Insurance Council, commercial and residential quake claims are about 88 per cent and 84 per cent settled respectively) but some will arrive through big ticket developments. The University of Canterbury will spend $1.2b on its redevelopment by 2022, including new engineering ($145m) and science ($216m) facilities due by 2016 and 2017. The Ministry of Education’s $1.1b Christchurch Schools Rebuild programme includes the rebuild of 115 schools. The $900m redevelopment of Lyttelton port – a mix of quake repairs and expansion – will continue until 2042.

As those time frames suggest, the rebuild was never going to be a five-year job. Charles Eadie, who led the rebuild of Santa Cruz city after the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, told Fairfax Media the recovery reached a ‘‘turning point’’ six years after the quake and most work was completed after 10 years.

‘‘I think we’ll look back on this period of our lives and say . . . we were hopelessly optimistic when it came to time frames,’’ Townsend said. ‘‘We all thought we’d be over this in five years. No, we won’t.’’

The statement is truer of some things than others – Scirt prioritising central city infrastructure repairs over suburban ones, for example.

‘‘I don’t want us to get to 10 years and think that we’re in that kind of state we won’t be able to reflect very positively on our journey,’’ Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said.

The focus brought on the central city by the recovery blueprint and the magnitude of the task of repairing broken parts of eastern Christchurch posed that risk, she said.

Source:

The Press

More funds for anchor project

sports-03The Government is pledging additional money to Christchurch’s metro sports facility but will not reveal how much.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced Tuesday Cabinet had agreed to increase Crown contribution to the major anchor project, above the $70.3 million planned in the 2013 cost sharing agreement with the Christchurch City Council.

The council committed $147m to the project.

“To ensure maintenance of a competitive tendering process, we won’t be revealing the agreed financial cap on the Crown’s commitment to delivery of the facility at this time,” Brownlee said.

While the design of the facility was still to take place, the agreed funding package meant it would include:

– An indoor aquatic hall with a 79m, 10-lane competition pool and spectator seating for 1000 people

– A 10m diving tower and warm water pool

– A learn-to-swim pool

– A leisure water area, with outdoor hot pools and two hydroslides

– Nine indoor courts for sports such as netball, basketball, futsal, floor ball, and other indoor sports, including retractable seating for 2500 spectators and function/VIP areas

– Sport New Zealand’s high performance area, which will include facilities for athletes and space for administration

– A large gym/weights facility, with up to five group fitness/multi-purpose rooms and sports health consulting rooms and facilities

– Four studio spaces for movement activity like dance

– A Sports House for administration of different sports

– A café, childcare facility and car parking for 500 vehicles (with the ability to expand in the future)

Previous plans for the facility included a 50-metre competition pool, and an complex with eight indoor courts and 2800 seats.

Sport Canterbury chief executive Julyan Falloonsaid it was great to finally have details of the project.

“We’ve been waiting for so long. It’s a great day for us,” he said.

The sports community could now plan transitional facilities and future competitions and events with more certainty.

“Now it’s about urgency to get the thing built and utilised,” Falloon said.

Netball Mainland chief executive Brigit Hearn said she was “extremely excited”.

“It’s fabulous news. It’s the end of the tunnel for us – now we can move forward and plan ahead.”

Netball Mainland had advocated for 12 courts but Hearn said getting nine courts was “certainly an improvement from where we’re at at the moment”.

The metro sport facility was initially planned to be built by early 2016 but the Government earlier this year pushed the completion date to 2020.

It is understood the business case was rejected when it finally reached the Beehive in May because costs had blown out.

Brownlee said Tuesday the intention was to open the facility to the public in 2019 and the remainder in 2020.

“As we work through the facility’s design and construction we will be looking closely at what opportunities there are to shorten those timeframes,” he said.

The Government had already purchased most of the land required to develop the facility on a central Christchurch site spanning over 70,000 square metres between Moorhouse Ave, Stewart St, St Asaph St and Antigua St.

The business case for the facility was “strong”, with more than two million visits to the facility a year expected once it opened, Brownlee said.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel welcomed the announcement.

“The earthquakes have had a massive impact on the region’s sporting facilities and I’m confident this new centre will reignite sport and recreation participation rates, and be another good reason to live in the central city,” she said.

Source:

  • Stuff.co.nz

No extra money for Christchurch roads

getimage (3)The city council’s hope of getting more money from the Government for fixing Christchurch’s damaged roads and underground pipes have been dealt a blow.

An independent review into the cost of fixing the city’s horizontal infrastructure – the roads, footpaths, bridges and underground pipes – has concluded the $1.8 billion committed by the Government and the $1.14b from the Christchurch City Council should be enough to do the work required to restore functionality.

The cash-strapped council hoped the review by experienced Auckland civil engineer Elena Trout would support its view that more funding was needed.

The council estimated it would cost $3.2b to restore all the infrastructure, but Trout’s report has concluded it would cost $2.9b, $348m less.

Trout said the lower cost was a result of several factors including efficiencies gained from ‘‘changed and evolved’’ design standards for wastewater, water and storm water networks, better assessment of asset damage information, rebuild efficiencies obtained by Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) and lower than forecast inflation of construction costs.

Trout said at the time the Cost Sharing Agreement was signed only 40 per cent of the assets had been assessed.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel would not comment on the report until she had a chance to discuss it with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. No date had been confirmed for that meeting, a council spokeswoman said.

Brownlee would also not comment until he had met with Dalziel. The pair have had the report for several weeks, but have been unable to meet because Brownlee had been in Singapore, then Iraq. He then became ill.

He was hoping to meet with Dalziel in ‘‘the next week or so’’.

The council has previously said if it was not able to find more money, streets in west Christchurch could go without repairs for decades because money to fix the roads and pipes was running out. Scirt has been working from east to west, so it was likely the bulk of the unrepaired infrastructure would be in the west of the city.

Councillor Yani Johanson said the report meant the city’s infrastructure was not going to be fixed in a timeframe or to a standard acceptable to many people.

‘‘The message from this is – the expectation that things will be put back as they were is wrong. What it shows, because of the agreements signed, people have to put up with getting less back than what they had before the earthquakes.’’

Johanson said the council must have a good look at its infrastructure strategy in the next few months to see what it could afford to do. ‘‘What it means for people is their roads are not going to be fixed as they were.’’

One of the report’s conclusions included that applying a second coat of seal, which provided a thick durable layer over the road, was not eligible for funding against the Cost Sharing Agreement.

Brownlee has previously said the horizontal infrastructure network would be at least equal to what it was before the quakes, and rejected the claim the council would to be burdened with extra costs.

‘‘It will be a long, long time before they [the council] have to start providing for maintenance on any of the work that has been done as part of the Scirt programme,’’ he said in December.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the council and the Government needed to come up with an option that would serve the best interests of the city. ‘‘We don’t want to be driving around on bumpy roads for the next 20 years.’’

Source:

  • The Press
  • Tina Law & Louis Cairns
  • Photo: Iain McGregor

Five-storey block for health precinct

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The building will have up to five storeys in a campus environment.

Countrywide, headed by Richard Diver, is already revamping the old Deloitte House next door for the Canterbury District Health Board and has added 10 new office buildings to Victoria St.

Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) acting director Don Miskell said the latest health precinct deal showed investor confidence remained strong in the city.

‘‘Our aim is to establish a firstclass precinct that brings together health-related activity, including education.’’

The precinct will span four blocks between St Asaph and Montreal streets, Hagley Ave and Oxford Tce and Montreal St.

Diver said the building would have health-related tenants on its four office floors, with shops and hospitality outlets at ground level.

‘‘It will be a beautiful building, it will look spectacular. We are talking to tenants now, from both the public and private sectors.’’

The company was doing design work now and hoped to start building later this year, Diver said. The building’s exact size depends on how any tenants are signed.

Source:

  • Liz McDonald
  • The Press
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