New Regent St reopening pushed back again

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 01/03/2013

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New Regent St's cobbled footpaths and pastel facades will remain behind cordon fencing for at least another month as the reopening date is pushed back for the fourth time.

Only three weeks out from the historical precinct's scheduled March 22 opening, organisers have again extended the deadline.

The inner-city street was initially expected to open by Christmas 2012. Then it was delayed till February. And then it was held off till March. Now, the reopening date for one of Christchurch's most picturesque streets has been pencilled in for late April.

New Regent St landowners, council representatives and officials met to discuss the latest delay on Tuesday, The Press understands.

Paul Lonsdale, manager of Christchurch's Central City Business Association and spokesman for the New Regent St businesses, has blamed the holdup on leasing agreements and consent processes.

"These kind of projects are bigger and more complicated than what people usually first expect. We want to be open sooner rather than later but there is still quite a bit of work to be done," he said.

Construction work on the precinct was on schedule but about 10 of the 38 adjoining shops were yet to be leased.

The three previous reopening dates for the precinct had been "a wee bit ambitious", Lonsdale said, but he was confident the end was near.

"We want to come out of the ground in the best way we can. We are currently working through the planning and we will release a date very shortly."

He was "fairly" confident Cantabrians would be strolling down the cobbled street before the end of April.

"It's a lovely little street and it will come back looking better than it did before."

"Boutique" stores and funky cafes and bars would fill the street and give it a different edge from suburban precincts.

"It's going to become more than what it once was because of its uniqueness within the new cityscape. It will be one of the few heritage parts we have in the city."

New Regent St's $5 million restoration and repair project has been managed by construction company Naylor Love.

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