Govt opens frame for development

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2014
Eastern Frame
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PICTURE PERFECT: An artist impressions of the Eastern Frame.

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The Government is calling for expressions of interest from developers to build townhouses and apartments in Christchurch's eastern frame.

Three years on from the February 2011 earthquake, more details about how the frame will look have been revealed.

A central park, cafes, gyms and community gardens are among the features the Government hopes will attract up to 2000 people to live in the area.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced yesterday a final plan for the frame - which runs from Armagh St to Lichfield St between Madras and Manchester streets - and said expressions of interest from keen developers would be open for about a month.

Brownlee said it was not yet clear whether the Crown would sell the land before developments were built or retain ownership until properties were sold.

The eastern frame had been split into about nine super lots, he said, that could each hold up to 100 houses.

However, the Government hoped 750 dwellings would be constructed in total.

"The idea is to try to bring quite a large number of people into the central city . . . and this partnership [with developers] will deliver high-quality housing and change the appearance of the old Manchester St."

Construction of the first residential complex was expected to start late next year, with houses ready for occupation by the end of 2016.

As for what an apartment or townhouse might cost, Brownlee said price was yet to be determined.

"But you don't want expectations to be too low from the start . . . there's a reasonable aspect of premium involved with living so close to the city centre."

A September 2013 report from Christchurch Central Development Unit director Warwick Isaacs said the key objectives of the frame were to reduce the oversupply of commercial land in the central city and attract residents to the CBD.

The Crown has so far spent more than $165 million buying up eastern frame land.

While 84 per cent has been acquired by sales agreement, a further 16 per cent has been compulsorily acquired under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act.

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