$70m precinct up for consideration

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 14:31 05/11/2012
Lichfield Holdings development
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NEW PLANS: The building will sit on the site once occupied by the Shades Arcade, Whitcoulls and the old Weekly Press building.

whitcoulls std
Don Scott
NEW PLAN: The former Whitcoulls building, now demolished.

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Plans for a $70 million-plus precinct on a one-hectare site in Christchurch's City Mall will go up for consideration this afternoon.

The development plan is the first for the city's prime retail zone to go before the Joint Management Board, a panel of experts from the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) and Ngai Tahu.

Under emergency fast-track laws, the board is expected to have a yes or no answer for developer Lichfield Holdings within days.

The proposal is for a retail and office complex overlooking a green square on the demolished Shades Arcade and Whitcoulls sites, plus adjoining properties in Cashel and Hereford streets.

It also includes buildings owned by smaller landlords in Colombo St.

After the Christchurch Central Development Unit put out its July blueprint requiring landowners to work together to avoid piecemeal development, Lichfield Holdings director Nick Hunt was approached by neighbours, including McDonald's with smaller sites in Colombo St.

They have submitted a plan big enough to meet the 7500-square-metre size requirement.

Several other groups have prepared development proposals for the blueprint's prime retail zone, which is bordered by Hereford, High and Lichfield streets and Oxford Tce.

The biggest has come from the landowning Ballantyne, Carter and Guthrey families, while members of the Gough family are designing a $40m restaurant, bar and retail precinct.

Another site is the subject of competing multimillion-dollar proposals from three groups for the same land.

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