15,000 workers will support central Christchurch retail precinct

What's what in the new-look retail precinct.

What's what in the new-look retail precinct.

Up to 15,000 office workers will be powering central Christchurch's new retail precinct by the time it is fully open.

With construction in the precinct in full swing, the first new building will be finished next month with more to follow during 2016 and 2017.

There are now calls for rebuild authorities to help ensure out-of-hours trade for when the thousands of nine-to-fivers go home.

The ANZ Centre, under construction in Christchurch's new retail precinct, will be serviced by a new carparking building ...

The ANZ Centre, under construction in Christchurch's new retail precinct, will be serviced by a new carparking building across High St.

Developer Richard Peebles, who is building in the precinct, said progress on the other anchor projects was needed "to keep the momentum going." 

Uncertainty over new rules on drinking hours was also deterring some bars and restaurants from committing to premises, he said.

Research from commercial real estate firm Colliers forecasted 10,000 office workers within 300 metres of the Ballantynes corner by late 2016 or early 2017, growing to 12,500 or 15,000 by Christmas 2017. That does not include retail or hospitality workers.

The Crossing development being built by the Carter Group.

The Crossing development being built by the Carter Group.

Colliers' retail broker Nick Doig said the prospect of those workers "right on the doorstep" was helping the retail precinct come together.

"But realising the plans for Cathedral Square would be a big help. Importance must be given to that.

"If we could get the Square in a more attractive position, that would encourage more hotels and apartments and bring in more tourists," Doig said.

The Terrace development as it will look from its internal courtyard.

The Terrace development as it will look from its internal courtyard.

Leasing agent Ryan Geddes, of Savills, said the high density of workers around the retail precinct would make the central city "awesome" and better than before the quakes. He urged progress on apartment developments in the East Frame.

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"Having residents in the city will give those businesses a longer trading period, you still need people in there after hours and at weekends."

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel has also called for more people within the four avenues, saying the city desperately needed thousands of new residents.

The BNZ Centre now under construction.

The BNZ Centre now under construction.

""What will reinvigorate and revitalise the central city more than anything else? People living there," she said.

A predicted shortage of off-street parking for workers and visitors to the precinct seemed to have been eased.

Tim Glasson, who is developing the ANZ Centre on the old Triangle Centre site, has bought the Link Centre and Te Wai Pounamu sites opposite and will put up a 650-space carpark building with shops below.

The new building planned next to Plymouth Lane.

The new building planned next to Plymouth Lane.

This will complete a ring of parking buildings around the precinct, joining those planned in The Crossing and Terrace developments by the Carter Group and the Gough family respectively. The city council's Lichfield St carpark will also be rebuilt. 

The first new building open in the retail precinct will be in the BNZ Centre. The office building with ground-floor shops will face Hereford St with an arcade through to Ballantynes. Owner Nick Hunt said the area would be "a little hub for people from all over".

The Terrace will open late next year, and The Crossing opens in early 2017. Peter Guthrey and Denis Sunderland will rebuild on their sites between Ballantynes and Plymouth Lane, and the Peebles Group will build on two riverfront sites.  

Designs for Hallensteins' and Glassons' flagship stores planned for Cashel St.

Designs for Hallensteins' and Glassons' flagship stores planned for Cashel St.

Developments surrounding the precinct include the Ngai Tahu, PWC and Grand Central complexes.

Tenants have now signed up for much of the office and street-facing shop space in the retail precinct. Smaller office spaces and shops and cafes  in side  lanes are taking longer to fill and some owners are reportedly offering inducements.

Government agencies going in and around the precinct include: Statistics NZ, Internal Affairs, NZ Transport, Department of Conservation, ACC, Commerce Commission, Housing Corporation, Human Rights Commission, Te Puni Kokiri, Creative NZ, EECA, and the Ministries of Social Development, Health, Education, Pacific Island Affairs, and Business, Innovation and Employment.

Private tenants are expected to include: BNZ bank, Westpac, ANZ, Scorpio Books, Glassons, Hallensteins, PWC, TopShop, Barkers, Michael Hill, Wendy's, Pita Pit, and New York Deli. As well, at least one other bank, a large law firm, Indian restaurant, pharmacy, activewear retailer, cosmetics store, and jewellery retailer are understood to be taking space. 

 - Stuff

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