'Fantastic hub' to be built on Belfast site
A $36 million industrial park housing up to 30 businesses will be built on the Belfast freezing works site.
The Christchurch property was among South Canterbury Finance assets sold to recoup cash after the $1.8 billion taxpayer bailout of the failed company's investors.
A development company led by rich-lister Simon Henry paid $5.6m in October for the site. It came with resource consent for an industrial subdivision and has a rating value of more than $14m.
Henry said a discounted price was expected when buying from receivers "cash, unconditional, sight unseen".
Bulldozers would move onto the land next month to start roading and earthworks, he said.
"We are just finishing up some design work now. It will be a fantastic hub and I'm particularly excited about it."
The 19-hectare property, bordered by Belfast and Blakes roads and the railway line, has more than 20 buildings. It will be subdivided for a mix of large and small businesses.
"There's a masterplan, but we can just chop off bits as people require them. It's very flexible."
Meat co-operative Silver Fern Farms previously owned the property and remains a tenant after cutting back its operations there. It may stay on at one end while the rest is cleared and developed.
The abattoir was New Zealand's second, and Canterbury's first, when it was built as the Belfast Freezing Works in the 1880s. It was later the Canterbury Freezing Works.
Henry said titles for the subdivided lots would be available next year, but businesses could move onto the land sooner "and we would be happy for them to use it".
He said the location - on the northern outskirts of Christchurch near motorways and new housing - was ideal.
Adjacent grazing land earmarked for residential subdivision by South Canterbury Finance is still for sale, with proceeds also destined for Government coffers.
Henry, a Cantabrian now living in Auckland, owns the Rapaki Property Group which owns assets including the former Inland Revenue building in Cashel St, the Link Centre site in the City Mall, and the Waltham malthouse block he is selling with plans for a major apartment complex.