Go-ahead for retail precinct

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012
Philip Carter, left, Peter Guthrey and Richard Ballantyne

RETAIL PRECINCT: Christchurch retail business leaders Philip Carter, left, Peter Guthrey and Richard Ballantyne are combining their properties.

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Three of Christchurch's wealthiest and most influential business families hope to see construction started on their planned inner-city shopping precinct by the middle of next year.

The BCG Alliance, formed in October by Ballantynes, Philip Carter and Peter Guthrey, yesterday had its outline development plan for a 25,000-square-metre retail and commercial development in the City Mall approved by a joint management board.

That means the Alliance now has resource consent to proceed with the development, even though it does not yet control all the land covered by its proposal.

After the launch of the central-city blueprint in July, the Christchurch Central Development Unit called for outline development plans (ODPs) to rebuild the four blocks between High St and Oxford Tce as an upmarket retail precinct.

A minimum size of half a city block was placed on the ODPs to force building owners to band together and put forward integrated neighbourhood designs.

Outside investors were allowed to suggest plans even if they did not own any central-city land.

Three parties are fighting for the southern Cashel St block. They include the BCG Alliance and Westpac-Goodman, which is proposing a $200 million development.

The proposed development areas of the BCG Alliance and Westpac-Goodman overlap and both have had their ODPs approved. But Westpac-Goodman owns none of the land covered by its ODP, while BCG owns most of the land covered by its ODP.

The BCG proposal covers the area from about halfway up the City Mall on the Ballantynes side and across Colombo St to the block that extends to High St and through to Lichfield St.

Ballantynes managing director Mary Devine said yesterday she was delighted by the board's decision.

"Once we come back in January it will be full steam ahead," she said.

Design work was under way and the work was likely to be carried out in three stages.

"We would certainly like to have stage 1 under way during the course of next year. We've already got tenants expressing an interest," she said.

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- The Press

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