Plea to use Christchurch CBD buildings

16:00, Mar 09 2014
James Dann
STILL STANDING: James Dann is campaigning to see buildings in the Frame put to use instead of being demolished.

Demolishing accommodation buildings in the East Frame only to replace them with new apartment buildings is madness, a Christchurch activist says.

Pointing to the Oaks SmartStay building on Cashel St, James Dann argued the building should be repaired and its 170 studio and small apartments leased to rebuild workers.

It could be pulled down whenever it was no longer needed, he said.

"Why pull it down and sell it to a developer, who will build apartments? If it's not broken and useable, why not keep it," he said.

Pre-quakes, the Oaks apartments were marketed as a "new concept in apartment accommodation" that offered a mix of studio, executive studio and two-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes and balconies. The building is on the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's acquisition list but not yet acquired. It is under a yellow S45 notice.

Dann also said the IRD building opposite the CTV site, the Gloucester St carpark, the Calendar Girls bunker and other East Frame buildings should be spared and put to use, for a few years at least. He called his campaign: "Those Left Standing".


Dann, who unsuccessfully contested the Labour Party nomination for Christchurch Central at the weekend, said the Gloucester car park could be filled with shipping containers or other temporary structures.

He noted that the Les Mills building on Cashel St would be left standing and integrated into the Frame, why not other buildings?

"There are a number of other buildings up and down the frame, big and small, old and new, ugly and beautiful, that are still standing, and could be made a feature of the frame," Dann said.

An architect friend has suggested removing the bottom floor of the IRD building and making an atrium.

The upper floors could be leased as office space, perhaps as part of the Innovation Precinct.

"They shouldn't be pushing down buildings for a piece of grass. There are hundreds of ways to be more innovative."

The official plan for the The Frame, now called the "East and North Frame Residential Precinct" by Cera, will see 6.8 hectares of the 14.6ha available developed into medium density residential housing. The first two "super-lots" are being marketed now, with a North Frame super-lot (at Manchester St and Cambridge Tce) designated for accelerated completion.

Cera wants the first East Frame super-lot (between Gloucester and Worcester Sts on Latimer Sq) to be occupied by the end of 2017 and the whole residential precinct rebuild complete by 2024.

The Press