Regeneration strategy for Christchurch's Cathedral Square expected mid-year

Business owners with major land holdings around Cathedral Square are keeping a close eye on its redevelopment.
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Business owners with major land holdings around Cathedral Square are keeping a close eye on its redevelopment.

A clear vision for Christchurch's Cathedral Square is expected by June.

The move has been a long time coming for central city property owners who have been delaying developments until there is more certainty surrounding the future of the Square.

Regenerate Christchurch and the Christchurch City Council are proposing to work together to develop a regeneration strategy for the Square and the area between Hereford, Manchester and Kilmore streets and Cambridge Tce. 

The council would make a decision on the proposal at its meeting on Thursday.

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A council report said a steering group would be formed to help develop and prepare the regeneration strategy and action plan. The group would ensure the strategy and actions were based on community aspirations and priorities for the short, medium and long term, it said.

It was not known who would be in the group, but it would include two councillors, representatives from the Crown and Ngai Tahu, and other "stakeholders".

"It is acknowledged that the key partners and stakeholders cannot regenerate this area on their own," the report said.

It said the focus on the Square recognised a measurable lack of regeneration activity in the area and believed a collaborative approach would catalyse redevelopment.

Regenerate Christchurch chief executive Ivan Iafeta​ said he hoped the vision would build greater levels of investor confidence.

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There was an overall vision for the central city, but not one specifically for Cathedral Square. 

Iafeta envisaged the strategy and action plan to include short and long term strategies and could include a series of events and activities for the Square.

"We want clearly identifiable actions."

A decision has yet to be made on the future of Christ Church Cathedral, but Iafeta hoped one would be made soon.

"We know there are ongoing discussions. Everyone is keen to understand what that decision will be."

Investors and property developers have been reluctant to invest in projects surrounding the Square because of the uncertainty in the area.

Miles Yeoman, of Canterbury Property Investments (CPI), which owns the former Press building site, said it was encouraging a masterplan was now being talked about for Cathedral Square.

"It's what's been lacking really. A masterplan for the Square would assist and give confidence to hotel operators to commit."

CPI was fielding a lot more inquiries from hotel operators than in the past. Yeoman believed it was because hotel operators had heard a decision on the cathedral was imminent and work on the library and convention centre had started.

He believed there would be more action surrounding the Square this year.

"It's just getting the timing right for the city to get back on its feet."

Yeoman wanted to see the Square surrounded by hotels and restaurants.

"It's the centre of our city and it's been overlooked."

Regenerate Christchurch is a joint Crown and council agency charged with overseeing the long-term development of the central city, the residential red zone and New Brighton.

 - Stuff

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