Precinct group eye city land

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2013

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The business group behind plans to set up an international precinct in Christchurch wants the city council to lease it council land in the central city for a peppercorn rent.

Taz Mukorombindo, of the Canterbury Business Association (CBA), told councillors yesterday they had identified the land in Welles St as the ideal site for the proposed precinct, which would include a large covered market.

The idea for an international precinct was included in the central city draft plan submitted to Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee last year, but it was not in the final blueprint, so the CBA has been pushing forward with the idea itself.

"Most modern cities have thriving markets . . . so why shouldn't we in Christchurch have our own?" Mukorombindo said.

He had 50 signed expressions of interest from potential market operators and letters of support from various ethnic groups across the city. Mukorombindo said the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and Ngai Tahu were also supportive of the proposed precinct.

The tourism industry was very supportive of the idea and felt it could help revitalise the visitor experience in the city.

Mukorombindo said the Welles St site had been selected as the best spot for the covered market because it was large and close to the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and the bus exchange.

"We think we can deliver a commercially viable plan [for a market] . . . that will have tangible community and social benefits," he said.

The CBA was willing to enter a commercial agreement with the council over the lease of the land but was hoping to pay only a peppercorn rent initially.

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- The Press

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