Multimillion-dollar complex for Christchurch site

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012
Amuri design
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NEW DESIGN: This five-storey office building designed by Warren and Mahoney will be built on Durham St between Gloucester to Armagh St.

Amuri design
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EYE-CATCHING: Shops and cafes will be included in the office development.

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A five-storey glass-fronted complex of offices, shops and cafes will replace the demolished Amuri Courts and URS-Landsborough House buildings in central Christchurch.

The multimillion-dollar development will comprise three interconnected buildings around a public courtyard in Durham St, opposite the Provincial Chambers. It has been designed by architects Warren and Mahoney and will take two years to build.

Members of the Yeo and Lee families, of West Melton, have owned the site under the name Awly Investments since 1996, and say they are "totally committed" to staying in Christchurch and reinvesting in the rebuild.

They already have resource consent for the project and will start building in June. The complex will cover almost half a hectare, stretching the full width of the block from Gloucester to Armagh streets.

Family spokeswoman Anna Yeo did not wish to say how much the project would cost, or whether they were topping up insurance proceeds with extra funds.

Leasing agent Helen Weideman, of real estate firm Colliers, said no tenants had been signed because the owners wanted to be certain the project could go ahead first.

"They wanted to go to the market with resource consents and everything through - they are determined to make it happen."

The location had always been high-profile but the Christchurch Central Development Unit blueprint had "made it part of the core and close to some of the [blueprint's] most exciting developments", Weideman said.

Warren and Mahoney architect Graeme Finlay said the building could accommodate about 600 office workers, plus staff in the ground-floor shops and hospitality outlets.

The highly glazed facade would enable people to look through into the rear courtyard, and to view earthquake-strengthening elements such as base isolators and seismic bracing, Finlay said.

"We think it's an incredibly exciting project."

The three-storey Amuri Courts was demolished earlier this year and the eight-storey URS House, also known as Landsborough House, was levelled in a quick-fire demolition during a weekend late last month.

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