Business hub's tent structure a 'lemon'

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 14/06/2014

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The plug has been pulled on the soft-top Westpac Business and Community Hub in Addington, but buyers for the tent-like structure that housed it are reluctant.

One property developer labelled the 2600sqm structure "a lemon", saying he had looked at perhaps relocating the tent-like structure but had ditched the idea.

Westpac and the commercial real estate agent have taken a cautious approach about commenting on the $5 million hub, launched in Christchurch in late 2011 to help the city's business community recover from the earthquakes.

The bank issued a brief statement: "A clear need and the strong demand for ‘The Hub' saw it continue to operate at a high occupancy rate until recently, when the rebuild gathered momentum. An intended auction did not proceed and the sale process continues."

One former tenant said the bank now wanted to recover some of the cost put into the hub, located near CBS Canterbury Arena.

Colliers International, hired as part of the sales process, is keeping relatively quiet because of a confidentiality agreement.

Colliers general manager Jonathan Lyttle was involved in a sale by deadline private treaty process that closed on May 15.

Yesterday Lyttle said: "All I can say is there has been significant interest and the sales process continues."

Property developer Richard Diver said he had cast his eye over the hub, thinking it might provide an enclosed farmers market for one of his Victoria St sites. However a closer look had shown just how big the tent was.

"I went inside and it's a whole town in there; it's a monster, and just the logistics of finding a place to put it, just the cost of relocation would be tremendous . . .

"It's going to be a lemon, I imagine, because they're trying to get rid of it. I would imagine it is several hundreds of thousands of dollars just to take it down, let alone put it back up."

Officially opened by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee in September 2011, it closed in the last month.

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the hub had been a crucial part of the move back to normalcy amid the disruptive quakes. Hundreds of thousands had used it, he said.

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- The Press

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