$75m apartment complex planned

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 05:00 04/04/2014

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A $75 million development near Cranmer Square could become central Christchurch's biggest apartment complex since the earthquakes.

The project, which will include 108 apartments and a 400-space car parking building, could start this year.

Developer Richard Diver's company Countrywide Property intends to build the complex on the former Environment Canterbury (ECan) land, which it has bought for $7.5 million.

He is responsible for 10 office buildings in nearby Victoria St.

ECan put the half-hectare Kilmore St-West Chester St site up for sale after its premises were damaged, and is now rebuilding in the southern frame.

Diver said he hoped the new complex would boost the area, bringing in residents to support local businesses and providing car parking for his Victoria St tenants.

"We are trying to bring a bit of life into the area for the weekends, and get it away from just a five-day-a-week operation.

"I think it will be a great place to live."

The complex will have three levels of car parking with two seven-storey apartment blocks on top, plus a tennis court and commercially-run gym.

Most of the apartments will have two bedrooms and are likely to be priced between $500,000 and $600,000. There will be additional townhouses on the southern side.

Countrywide Property must complete design, planning and consent procedures and make some pre-sales to guarantee the project. The company's co-owner, Clearwater Construction, will do the building work.

Diver, a former carpenter, has developed townhouse complexes before but said these would be his first apartment blocks. If all goes to plan, the first residents could be in by mid-2016.

He said the Christchurch City Council's decision to drop development levies for central city apartments until mid-2015 had helped make the project viable.

ECan has been using part of the city for Civil Defence operations, and has arranged with Countrywide Property to continue this on the site temporarily.

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- The Press

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