Owners riled by eastern frame plan
The eastern frame may have been promoted as Christchurch's Central Park, but instead looks set to boast "very dense" residential development.
Chunks of the Government-acquired land have been earmarked for apartments and units, which will go on the market as early as the end of the year.
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said Manchester St would be widened and turned into a "boulevard-type of street that supports very dense inner-city living" and there had already been "significant interest" from investors.
Brownlee said the strip would still offer "huge park and public spaces", but eastern frame landowners were calling it a broken promise.
Denis Harwood, who owns a building on the corner of Manchester St and Bedford Row, said many supported the blueprint plan,
"A lot of people approved of and supported the plan "thinking we would have this huge public green space with some apartments, but it's clearly not going to happen like that".
"I think it's a bit misleading, especially after all the hype about it being a big green space like Central Park."
Gordon Chamberlain, who owns a Gloucester St site, said the Government on-selling land for development "doesn't fall within the true meaning of the Public Works Act, which the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act is based on".
KPI Property Group managing director Shaun Stockman said the blueprint was "too bold".
"The buildings left in the frame, in my opinion, should be left with a walkway and feature waterways down to a park at the end by the river," he said.
KPI Property Group said the group had settled with the Crown over the $4m Westende House on Manchester St, built after the February 2011 earthquake, which is to be demolished.
Brownlee said the Crown did not stand to profit from on-selling parcels of frame land.
"It's important to keep face with the people who have sold us the properties," he said.
He did not know how much of the eastern frame would be developed, but said parcels of land could be up grabs by the end of the year or early next year.
CCDU director Warwick Isaacs said the sale of Crown acquired land for parcels of residential development would "in fact [result in] a shortfall in respect of the Crown investment".
The Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) is drafting the Residential Chapter, which proposes a new community of about 2000 people living around a central park and children's playground within the frame.
The Government has so far acquired 61 of the 84 sites it needs for the frame, which runs from Kilmore St to Lichfield St between Manchester and Madras streets – at a cost of about $73 million.
The Crown has set aside $481m for the north and east frame developments which includes buying the land, demolition and construction costs.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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