New complex for Fitzgerald Ave
LIZ MCDONALD looks at plans for a complex of 11 buildings on the fringe of central Christchurch.
First a can factory and then a shopping complex, now a site on one of Christchurch's four avenues is to become a business centre.
The mostly cleared hectare-plus property is being bought by developer and investor Richard Peebles from a group of about 30 investors with the name Fitzalfred Holdings. It is on the corner of Fitzgerald Ave and Alfred St, between Ferry Rd and St Asaph St.
Peebles plans to build a complex for offices and retail businesses.
Fitzalfred Holdings has owned the property since 2006, when it bought it from Fitzgerald 47 Ltd, a company headed by Christchurch investor Stephen Collins.
Collins' business partner, Lilly Cooper, developed the Habitatz drive-through shopping complex on the site in 2004, converting it from NCI Packaging NZ's old can factory.
Until it was badly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake, the shopping complex had tenants including Millers Homewares, Simply Furniture and Cotters Electrical.
Once the damaged building came down, Fitzalfred Holdings put the site up for sale. The premises of Ross Galt locksmiths, a Rockgas filling station and an Orion electrical substation remained on the property.
Peebles already has developments on Fitzgerald Ave, including new headquarters for the Cancer Society at No 97.
He has also renovated premises for TVNZ and insurance brokerage JLT in the old Wraggs building in Dundas St, and rebuilt the home of the Lone Star Cafe nearby in Manchester St. New Montreal St premises for bathroomware supplier Mico Wakefield is another of his projects.
Peebles has bought land for new projects after selling about 10 properties to the Government for rebuild anchor projects.
The Habitatz site he has under contract in Fitzgerald Ave covers 1.2haand is in eight titles.
Before the quakes it had industrial zoning; now it has one of the Christchurch Central Development Unit's mixed zonings aimed at improving land use in the central city.
Peebles said the new complex would be campus-style, with 11 double-storey buildings of 800sqm each. There would be landscaping and walkways.
He expects to start work on the development before Christmas, and will stage the project by constructing just three or four buildings to start with.
Design work is being done in consultation with the Christchurch City Council's urban planners.
He described the Fitzgerald Ave location as "fringey", and said it attracted tenants because it was central but less expensive.
"It would suit campus-style retail, trade, medical or educational use, but because of the zoning it can't be full retail or full office use," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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