Canterbury construction $4 billion and rising

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Metro Sports Facility

Construction spending in Christchurch has hit more than $4 billion thanks to large builds like the planned new Metro Sports Facility.

A million dollars is being spent on construction in Canterbury every two hours – and spending is still rising.

While residential building work has decreased for the first time in three years, commercial and public construction is ramping up, according to Statistics New Zealand.

More than $4.3 billion has been spent on building work in the region in the past year. The dollars going into non-residential construction have jumped 14.6  per cent in the last quarter, after increasing steadily over the past year as the rebuild ramps up.

Neil Kelly, building figures manager for Statistics New Zealand, said while many houses had already been replaced or repaired, commercial construction was still gathering speed.

“You only have to count the cranes. There’s a lot of big stuff going on and those big projects are boosting the numbers.”

Its figures translated to $83 million a week going into Canterbury’s construction industry, or nearly $12m a day.

They came from  its work in place survey, which measures the value of new residential and non-residential building, as well as alterations big enough to need consent. It does not include internal refurbishments or minor renovations, or non-building construction such as roads and other infrastructure.

Leighs Construction managing director Anthony Leighs said the commercial market was the busiest it had been in the post-quake environment.

“What we’re seeing in there’s probably the highest level of activity in the market at the moment than there’s ever been… from the total number of buildings being built across the city.”

Leighs believed the momentum would “remain very solid” for two to three more years.

The company’s “top of the pops projects” at the moment were “massive”, including the BNZ and ANZ centres, and the Burwood Hospital rebuild.

Hawkins Construction South Island regional manager Steve Taw agreed, saying the rebuild was “likely to continue at this current rate for at least another 12 months”.

He said the projects the company were working on were likely to be adding to the “ever increasing spend in the Christchurch commercial construction market”, but it was planned and not unexpected.

“It is pleasing to see confidence in our central city increasing with a number of projects in full swing.”

Ian Smith, head of project management company Building Intelligence Group in Christchurch, said while the central city skyline was full of private developers’ cranes, internal work on those buildings and the public sector spend was yet to come.

Rather than peaking , the rebuild would plateau as big projects such as they city’s new central library, Metro sports centre and convention centre got underway.

“There’s going to be quite a lot of money spent on all those buildings.”

Smith said while there were “hot spots” in construction such as the need for structural steel, the market would supply enough materials and labour in most areas.

“By and large the market has responded so far, and met demand.”

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

Next stage for Christchurch rebuild

9bRMehChristchurch business leaders are applauding the Government’s transition proposal where the Government retains a key role in the Christchurch rebuild over the next five years.

They were concerned that the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) winding up next April year would leave a vacuum of leadership in the city and the Government’s commitment to anchor projects was flagging.

Ngai Tahu Property chief executive Tony Sewell said the proposal addressed every issue the business community had been concerned about.

He was happy with the Government’s “complete commitment” to building the Convention Centre and the Metro Sports centre. Ngai Tahu is part of a consortium chosen as the Government’s preferred partner to develop the Convention Centre.

Businesses had been concerned Government support for Christchurch was flagging “but it’s not.”

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee must report back to Cabinet by the end of August on the setting up of a new urban development authority, called Regenerate Christchurch, to lead the rebuild of the central city when Cera winds up in April.

The Christchurch City Council has set up its own development authority but the Government proposes now that its development authority should “integrate” with the council’s.

The Christchurch City Council and the Government are expected to work together to set up Regenerate Christchurch and decide what its aims are, what its functions would be, what powers it had and who would pay for it.

“They have clearly set out that there is going to be a relationship between Government and council, ” Sewell said.

Asked could the council and Government work together Sewell said “it’s not a can, it’s a must”.

“The voters and the ratepayers won’t tolerate a standoff.” Sewell said.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the proposal was sensible,offered a staged and predictable transition with the Government roles slowing decreasing and the council’s increasing.

It relied on collaboration between central and local government, “which I applaud” and good strong commercial governance.

He expected the Government and the council to appoint the board members of Regenerate Christchurch.

The chamber had been “pushing strongly” for a governance model over the top of the rebuild projects and that was now going to happen.

Asked if Regenerate Christchurch was just the Christchurch Central Development Unit (within Cera) with a new name, Townsend disagreed with that and said the transition proposal was a step change with new legislation, new leadership and a new collaborative relationship between the Government and council.

He expected the government and council to appoint directors to the board.of the development authority. Those people would have strong commercial experience and project management backgrounds and tracks records.

The Government’s proposal referred to some of Cera’s powers expiring or going to councils and some role for Ngai Tahu.

Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the tribal council of Ngāi Tahu,  Sir Mark Solomon said he was not aware of any detail on that.

He was on the advisory board, headed by Dame Jenny Shipley, that advised the Government. It called for a “demonstrable step-change in local leadership”.

Sir Mark said the advisory board wanted to see control start to return to the city though the Government still needed to be involved.

Hawkins Construction executive director Jim Boult said he was delighted the government confirmed its commitment to the Convention Centre and Metro Sports centre.

He would like to see timeframes on those two. The Convention Centre was “the lump in the throat” of the central city developing, he said.

Source:

  • The Press

Rebuild falling behind

Two years ago this month, The Press consulted developers, landowners, local leaders and recovery plans to form a picture of how Christchurch might look in February 2016.

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Comparing 2013 schedules with progress made two years later makes for sobering reading. Timelines have changed several times and projects that were supposed to have started by now have stalled or been delayed months, if not years.

For some, the blueprint is to blame. The planning and designing phase has taken longer than expected in some cases and involved land acquisitions and zoning difficulties. Major anchor projects have been continually delayed, causing uncertainty for private developers and investors.

Even the quake memorial, which was supposed to be ready for the fifth anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake in 2016, has been delayed another year.

According to 2013 forecasts, construction of the convention centre should have started by December last year and work on the stadium and the metro sports facility by March this year. But no work has begun on any of the sites – the three major anchor projects have been delayed by several years. The Government has offered little explanation for the delays, despite developers and the community demanding answers this week.

getimage (2)This led to speculation that convention-centre costs were spiralling out of control and that Cabinet had rejected a business case for the metro sports facility.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee scotched those rumours this week. No business case had been rejected for the facility, he said. Budgets were ‘‘always revised’’ on any building project, ‘‘whether it’s a garden shed, a front fence or a convention centre’’.

‘‘I think everyone should relax and recognise that these types of facilities are going to be around for decades and you’ve got one shot at getting them right at the start.’’

Brownlee was ‘‘pretty relaxed’’ at the delays.

‘‘It’s just a matter of getting things right before you start pouring concrete on the ground.’’

Preliminary work – business cases, designs and plans – was ‘‘a good investment’’.

Brownlee said the city needed the convention centre and the metro sports facility and confirmed the projects would go ahead despite delays.

In Christchurch’s CBD, all major demolitions should have been completed more than a year ago but the Manchester St car park, Calendar Girls on Hereford St, the Orion building, and Westende House are still to be pulled down.

The stalling of Anthony Gough’s Terrace development was another blow for the central city’s development. It should have been completed in September this year but is running a year behind schedule. On the bright side, a rash of new buildings will be completed in the nearby retail precinct next year, including The Crossing, Cashel Square, The Terrace and the ANZ Centre.

getimage (3)The performing arts precinct has also stalled. Ground was broken last month for construction a 300-seat concert hall for the centre for music and the arts, but Christchurch art organisations are still waiting for the Government to pull together a deal for the rest of the precinct on a block bounded by Gloucester, Armagh, New Regent and Colombo streets.

The residential red zone was scheduled to be cleared last year. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) has made good progress but has extended the housing demolition deadline to June 2015. The land clearance will not be completed until April 2016.

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) is also behind schedule. Land-claim settlements should have been completed at the end of last year but complex types of damage have emerged.

The Christchurch City Council has pushed back the opening of the central city library near Cathedral Square by about 18 months, to early 2018.

The design phase and land acquisition took longer than expected, the council says. Site clearance is under way and the council expects to get access to it in July.

The Margaret Mahy playground, on the old centennial pool site, is also running a year behind but should be open in time for the Christmas school holidays.

In 2016, Christchurch can expect the Avon River precinct and the south frame to be nearing completion, a year behind schedule.

It is not all doom and gloom. Some projects were completed almost on time and others are well on target.

Last year, the new Stranges building on High St opened only a few months later than planned. The same goes for the Isaac Theatre Royal, which opened six months later than expected.

The new bus interchange on Tuam St should be fully operational next month, as planned, and work on the justice and emergency services precinct is under way.

EQC is on track to complete its home repairs by the end of the year. The massive task of repairing Christchurch’s pipes and roads is on track for completion at the end of 2016.

Cera acting chief executive John Ombler said the Crown’s commitment to the vision of the blueprint had not changed.

‘‘What has changed are delivery times. We still have some business processes to go through, that’s just a fact . . . and we’ve made a commitment to update [the community] as frequently as we can.’’

Source:

  • The Press

Anchor projects cause anxiety!

1431085048320Canterbury sports enthusiasts and businesses are “hugely disappointed” and frustrated two of Christchurch’s major anchor projects will be delayed.

The Government on Friday said completion of the metro sports facility would be delayed to early 2020 and the convention centre to late 2018.

Concern is also growing for Cathedral Square’s renovation with ASB Bank pulling out of plans for a new regional headquarters there.

Indoor sports players, swimmers and other athletes have all been waiting keenly for the metro sports facility to open but will now have to wait three more years.

The centre was initially supposed to be finished by March 2017.

Mainland Netball chief executive Bridget Hearn said the news was “hugely disappointing” for indoor sport in Canterbury.

Five years was an “incredibly long wait” and lack of indoor space in the city was problematic.

“I know we have to be patient, and we are very excited about the metro sports facility, but we have had to turn away junior teams for lack of space.”

Rugby had transitional facilities, she said, but indoor and womens sports had been left in the lurch.

Canterbury Sport chief executive Julyan Falloon said there was “real frustration” at the delay.

Aquatic and indoor sports had been “hugely compromised” since the earthquakes, he said, and organisations would find it hard to plan ahead for infrastructure across the city.

School Sport Canterbury regional sports director Bill Grogan said the delay meant students would miss out on tournament opportunities.

“Canterbury students have to keep travelling for national tournaments as we can’t host any at the moment.”

The tourism and business community was also counting on an opening date for the convention centre in late 2017.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said progress on the centre was “disappointingly slow” and caused uncertainty among business owners and investors.

“People need to plan ahead. We keep getting these delays and this causes uncertainty about when it will actually happen.”

Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Centre Bureau (CCCCB) manager Caroline Blanchfield said the delay was “disappointing” but she hoped the centre would be open in time for a large health conference booked in November 2018.

The Asia-Oceania Conference of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine would bring 800 delegates and an estimated $2.1 million to the city.

She said a “back-up plan” was in place in case the centre was not finished in time.

With the convention centre delays, the halving of the size of the performing arts precinct, and no sign of an answer on the future of Christ Church Cathedral, fears were rising that Cathedral Square was becoming toxic for development.

ASB bank announced in December 2013 it would be the anchor tenant for a four-storey office block to be developed at 9 Cathedral Square, on the site of the previous ANZ building.

However, ASB spokesman Christian May said the bank broke off negotiations with Central City Estates, the family investor group that owns the site, in December 2014.

May said ASB was now talking to developers of other “high profile CBD sites” and still expected to reopen somewhere by late 2016.

Ernest Duval, of the City Owners Rebuild Entity (Core), was unsure who would be booking conventions while the square’s future remained so uncertain.

“The pressing issue is to break the impasse on the cathedral and address some of these buildings like [the half-demolished BNZ House], [and] try and move things forward, because we’re missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of development,” he said.

Christchurch Central Development Unit director Baden Ewart said the Crown’s commitment to the vision of the blueprint had not changed.

Time frames had been reviewed and the public would be updated on them “as often as we can”.

Source:

  • The Press

CCDU:Stadium & Metro Sports

Source: CCDU

Got a start date, just securing the land!

Authorities want work to begin on Christchurch’s new metro sports facility and convention centre by the end of next year – but have yet to acquire any of the land needed for the project.

The sports facility and convention centre are two of four anchor projects identified by the Christchurch Central Development Unit as top priorities in the rebuilding of Christchurch’s earthquakehit central business district.

The other two projects are the Avon River precinct and the eastern frame.

Most of the land required for the Avon precinct is already in either Crown or Christchurch City Council ownership, but the CCDU needs to acquire 324 land parcels for the other three projects.

It has set a December deadline for completing negotiations for those land parcels, but despite sending out letters early last month advising landowners that their properties could be compulsorily acquired under the powers of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act, it has received completed questionnaires relating to only 103 of the land parcels.

The completed questionnaires are critical to the acquisition process as they are designed to provide the CCDU with enough information to come up with an offer for the land so that negotiations can get under way.

The CCDU has said its preference is to obtain the land required through negotiation rather than having to resort to compulsory acquisition.

Some central-city landowners have said they have no intention of filling in the questionnaires because they see the process as an unfair land grab by the Government.

‘‘I’m not surprised there’s been such a poor response rate so far,’’ said one landowner, who asked not to be identified.

‘‘People are understandably sceptical about the process and are in no hurry to give over the details Cera wants.’’

CCDU director Warwick Isaacs said the rate of return for the questionnaires was as expected.

Asked when the CCDU would move from negotiation to compulsory acquisition, he said no decisions had been made.

Negotiations were under way with some landowners, but it was too soon to say when the first acquisition would be completed, Isaacs said.

Overall, the CCDU needs to acquire 1315 parcels of land for anchor projects in the CBD.

It has received questionnaires relating to about a third (430) of those parcels of land.

With most of the land required for the  Avon River precinct – a series of parks along the central-city banks of the river – already in Crown or council ownership, the CCDU called for expressions of interest from landscape designers keen to be involved in the development.

It plans to start design work next month and hopes construction will begin this summer. The project will be delivered in stages by 2014.

The expression-of-interest documents – the first stage of the tender process – for the convention centre and the metro sports facility have yet to be finalised, but Isaacs said the aim was to have construction under way on both by the end of next year.

The ballpark cost of both facilities is $342 million, and the Government has signalled that it expects the city council to provide the bulk of that funding.

Source:

  • The Press
  • Lois Cairns lois.cairns@press.co.nz
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