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Christchurch city buyout begins

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 17:10 30/11/2012
craigs building std
Dean Kozanic
SOLD: CCDU director, Warwick Isaacs announces the purchase of central city properties, including Craigs House.

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The Government has confirmed the first three property purchases of more than 100 it plans to have completed by early next year. 

Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) director Warwick Isaacs this afternoon said the Crown had signed off to buy three commercial properties linked to its central city blueprint. 

It has bought Craigs House in Armagh St and the Poplar Apartments site in Chester St East, both owned by property developer Antony Gough, and the Lucks building in Colombo St, owned by Lucks Building Ltd. 

The Craigs and Lucks buildings are on land earmarked for Christchurch's new convention centre, a key blueprint project; the Poplar Apartments building is in the eastern frame. 

Purchase prices would be publicly available when final Crown land acquisition had been completed. 

Isaacs said the Crown should have the first tranche of land it plans to buy sewn up by the first quarter of 2013 and all land acquisitions completed by end of next year. 

The CCDU last week sent letters to the 47 owners of 104 properties tagged for blueprint projects, outlining plans to take land. 

The Crown plans to 761 properties in the CBD, and is approaching affected landowners according to anchor project priority. 

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee welcomed the first purchases as a milestone. 

"I'm pleased with progress made by the [CCDU] in negotiating with landowners to create a willing-buyer willing-seller scenario," he said.  

The Crown had agreement, in principle, with the owners of another 15 properties, and was at an advanced stage of negotiation on a further 50. 

"CCDU is finding property owners are keen to engage in negotiations with the Crown, and to conclude these negotiations in a timely way so they can move on and perhaps invest elsewhere in the city," Brownlee said. 

The Crown intends to acquire 761 designated properties in the CBD, with the first negotiations being carried out according to the priority of the anchor projects. 

It has the power of compulsory acquisition if negotiations break down. No talks had reached that stage yet.

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