SOL Square set to return

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 02/09/2014
Poplar Lane
JOSEPH JOHNSON/ Fairfax NZ
BACK TO LIFE: The remains of Poplar Lane – a popular entertainment hub before many of the buildings were damaged or destroyed in the February 2011 earthquake.

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SOL Square will finally be redeveloped, bringing more office and hospitality space to the eastern edge of Christchurch's city centre.

After more than three and a half years in limbo The Press understands Christchurch businessman Gerald Carter has bought the precinct bordered by Lichfield, Tuam and Manchester streets.

Christchurch public relations company Carter Price Rennie has emailed invitations to hospitality operators and entrepreneurs to a "SOL Square Returns" meeting tomorrow.

Carter Price Rennie was unable to confirm if Carter was involved yesterday, but several sources say Carter is the buyer.

The email said the new owner was looking for office and hospitality tenants for the half-block opposite the new Stranges Lane development.

Carter, of Carter Smith Architecture and Interior Design, was responsible for the design of Waipara Wine Village and owns the boutique Tai Tapu Lodge with his wife.

SOL Square has been tied up in a complex liquidation process since the cornerstone company of controversial Christchurch property developer David Henderson was put into receivership in early 2010.

The buildings in the square were damaged in the earthquakes but it is believed they will be repaired, not demolished.

Christchurch hospitality operator Max Bremner, who already owned the leases on six of the SOL Square bars, spent more than a year in negotiations with the receiver, the buildings' insurers and the Bank of New Zealand to buy the site but was unsuccessful.

Bremner and property developer Richard Peebles will now put up a new three-storey building on the corner of Hereford St and Oxford Tce to house former SOL Square bars Fat Eddies and Yellow Cross.

Meanwhile, Richard Sinke, who runs Dux Dine and Dux Live, confirmed he would open a new craft beer bar in the old Twisted Hop building in the area known as Poplar Lane.

More strengthening work would be done to the brick building to bring it up to 100 per cent of code and the general area needed a good tidy up, he said.

Sinke hoped the new business would be open by April.

"I think it's great that some of the city's more historical building will be preserved."

Johnny Moore's Brick Farm is already operating on High St where Korean karaoke bar Doli used to be and Kew Innovation Development - the group behind the proposed Kathmandu development - is looking for more hospitality tenants to occupy spaces fronting onto Lichfield St.

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- The Press

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