Church has big vision for site

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 15/07/2014
Majestic Church

CHURCK COMPLEX: An artist’s impression of the Majestic Church’s planned development on the old Cranmer Court site in central Christchurch.

Majestic Church
PARKING GALORE: A perspective of the carpark building at the Majestic Church proposed for corner of Montreal and Kilmore Sts.

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The Majestic Church wants to build a chapel, auditorium, art studios, cafe, apartments and a multi-storey parking building on the former Cranmer Court site.

The 900-member church bought the high-profile site on the corner of Montreal and Kilmore streets last year for $10 million after attempts by heritage campaigners to save the Gothic-style Cranmer Court building failed and it was demolished.

It has now lodged a resource consent application with the Christchurch City Council seeking planning approval for a mixed-used development that will cater for all its congregation's needs.

According to planning documents lodged with the council, the church plans to build a 219-seat chapel and a 700-plus seat auditorium for its regular Sunday services.

It also wants to build three studios for the creative arts, a recording studio, a dance studio, and a cafe that would be available for use by the church but also open to the general public.

It plans to arrange the buildings around a central courtyard with a performance stage and a baptismal pool.

Six one-bedroom apartments are also proposed as part of the development, as well as a multi-storey parking building in the southeast corner of the site.

The Majestic Church plans to retain ownership of the apartments in the immediate future as rental accommodation.

Senior minister Leo Hanssen said the development was "something fresh, something new" and the congregation was eager for work to get under way.

Hanssen could not put a figure on the cost of the development and admitted it might be more than the church could currently afford, but said if necessary it could be done in stages.

"We would like to do it all at once but if we have to stage it we will," said Hanssen, adding the top priority was to get the auditorium built.

The church wanted to be part of the community and all of its facilities would be available for community use.

"We want this whole complex to be something the community can feel part of," Hanssen said.

The Majestic Church has been in Christchurch since 1962. It was operating out of the former Majestic Theatre building on the corner of Manchester and Lichfield streets but that building was badly damaged in the quakes and has since been compulsorily acquired by the Crown.

For the last three years the church has been renting premises in Moorhouse Ave but its resource consent to operate out of those premises is due to expire in 2016.

Hanssen said if all went according to plan, work on the new development would begin early in 2015.

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