'Food hub' for central city site

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 05:00 27/08/2014
Christchurch food hub
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UPCOMING ATTRACTION: An artist’s impression of a food hub being built on the corner of Victoria and Salisbury streets, central Christchurch.

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A bare site in Victoria St in central Christchurch is to become a container food hub - perhaps with a weekend farmers market alongside.

The site, on the Salisbury St corner, could have been entirely devoted to car parking but property owner and developer Richard Diver had a better idea.

He has brought in shipping containers and is creating a take-away food hub surrounding a central decked courtyard with rain cover, lighting, landscaping and trees.

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Diver hopes the whole project will create variety on the street where he owns about 10 tenanted office buildings and is building an apartment block around the corner.

"It will bring people into the area to do something interesting.

"With the offices, bars, restaurants and shops we've got on that street, it would be good to see some sort of variety along there. It'll look quite cool."

Builders will start converting the containers this week and Diver envisages signing tenants such as ethnic food outlets, bagel shops or coffee carts.

The food hub will be open during the day initially, and perhaps evenings later on if standards can be maintained.

"We don't want a whole lot of drunk people eating hamburgers," Diver said.

On the rest of the 1500sqm site Diver wants to host a farmers market at weekends, hoping it will "grow organically" alongside the food hub. He believes produce growers and artisan food makers are keen for a central city market, but "just need an outlet to get started".

He said he would not be running the market as a profit-making exercise, but as something to boost an area he has already invested in. The space could also be used as a venue for events such as fashion shows.

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