$150m-plus development for Christchurch river front
A $150 million-plus office and apartment complex around a central square will be built to replace Christchurch's old police headquarters and King Edward barracks.
Up to 1500 workers will eventually occupy the site, including 350 public servants.
With up to four commercial buildings, walkways, carpark building and row of apartments, the development will take up the entire riverside block between Hereford, Cashel and Montreal sts and Cambridge Tce.
Ngai Tahu owns the land and announced the project alongside Prime Minister John Key on Thursday.
Public servants from the Ministry of Education, Housing New Zealand and the Ministry of Health will occupy two-thirds of one building. Accountancy firm EY, formerly Ernst and Young, will lease more than half of a second building.
"This is the fourth building that we've got here in the CBD that will be housing thousands and thousands of civil servants," Key said.
"Really the aim of that is to bring people back to the city. They will provide the nucleus of the already big workforce in the CBD."
Key opened the new Tait Communications building in Harewood and the "Deloitte" building at 151 Cambridge Tce before heading down the road for the Ngai Tahu unveiling.
"They mean real progress and tangible progress for Cantabrians," he said.
"A couple of years ago they were very much like the building site … here today."
Ngai Tahu Property development manager Gordon Craig said they were excited to be building on the site.
"It's arguably one of the best sites in the city. It will be a thoroughfare linking the Bridge of Remembrance, civic centre, Arts Centre and cultural precinct."
Ngai Tahu hopes to start construction in July and will demolish the disused police building by the end of June. The first office buildings are expected to be finished by early 2017.
Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon said: "Ngai Tahu is excited by this opportunity to partner with the Crown in the continuing recovery of the central city."
Ngai Tahu had drawn up the master plan together with architects Warren and Mahoney, and final details would depend on the response from tenants. There will be between two and four office buildings, each five storeys high, and 65 to 80 apartments facing Montreal St.
The quake-damaged police headquarters was scheduled to be imploded, while the barracks building was demolished in the mid-1990s and has been used as a car park.
Construction tenders will be called soon, and 500 or 600 construction workers are expected to be onsite at the peak of development.
Craig said some sort of development had been intended on the site for over a decade, but had proven difficult pre-earthquakes.
"The earthquakes have given us an opportunity. This will be wonderful, with the river as a central feature of the area."
He said the configuration of the apartment strip had not yet been finalised.
"We need to do quite a bit more design work, and then we will test the market demand. They are not going to be cheap, boxy apartments, they will be quality homes."