New plan for old railway station site

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 10/10/2012
New design for Moorhouse site
NEW DESIGN: Plans include a piazza, an eight-screen cinema, a nine-storey 80-room hotel, playground, rooftop restaurant, bar, retail and gymnasium.
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Grand $52 million redevelopment plans for the old railway station site in Moorhouse Ave in Christchurch have been unveiled.

The plans include a piazza, an eight-screen cinema, a nine-storey 80-room hotel, playground, rooftop restaurant, bar, retail and gymnasium.

Developers hope to complete the ambitious entertainment precinct by November next year, with the hotel tower completed in 2014.

The former railway station was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes and is in the process of demolition.

The building housed the Science Alive! education centre and a Hoyts multiplex cinema.

The development plans are for the 11,000 square metres of the site owned by Lisa Abbot and do not include the 6000 sqm owned by Science Alive! on the eastern corner.

Science Alive! is in discussions about a possible move to the city centre, but has not ruled out a return to the Moorhouse Ave site.

Project director Matthew Jeffreys said space had been left in the plans to integrate a new Science Alive! centre and hoped they would return.

Jeffreys said the entertainment precinct, not including the hotel tower, was fully funded and tenders were being let for construction.

The site owner is looking for a developer to build the hotel tower.

The precinct would cost $30m and the hotel tower an additional $22m.

"It is our desire to build the hotel and precinct concurrently and we are negotiating to achieve that," Jeffreys said.

"There are many displaced hotel building owners looking for other options. We don't think securing the funding will be difficult.

"We are outside the city blueprint, so we don't have to be limited by any time frames. We are going hell for leather. We think people have waited long enough."

The plans are being publicly released before they have been granted building consent as the developers want public feedback, Jeffreys said.

"This is for the community and the site owner has a philanthropic approach to the development, which is quite unique. They could have taken their money and run, but they want to give something back . . . They have given over large areas to public spaces and areas where people can gather."

Abbott said the development would include a multi-functional theatre that could be used by schools and for conferences.

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- The Press

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