Campaign to attract anchor project investment

SEEKING INVESTMENT: The CCDU is looking for upwards on $10m for the art trail, a key part of the Avon River precinct.
SEEKING INVESTMENT: The CCDU is looking for upwards on $10m for the art trail, a key part of the Avon River precinct.

More than $50 million in private-sector investment is being sought for major anchor projects in Christchurch’s city centre.

The Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) is about to launch campaigns targeting ‘‘philanthropic and sponsorship’’ investment for at least four projects. 

At a market update last night, CCDU’s general manager of greater Christchurch investment strategy, Murray Cleverley, said the Government was ‘‘looking for support’’ for the central library, the Margaret Mahy Family Playground, the metro sports facility, and the Avon River precinct and its planned art trail.

‘‘The reason I raise this now is because people will want to be part of this and this is your opportunity to get behind and ensure we have the city we want,’’ he told  the audience of interested parties.

‘‘If we can help with betterment and you can see the opportunity . . . we are interested in talking to you.’’

About 300 people – including investors, developers, landowners and real estate agents – attended the session, which featured an update on the anchor project programme by CCDU director Warwick Isaacs.

An information handout provided said there were ‘‘diverse opportunities’’ throughout the central city after the earthquakes, including ‘‘sponsorship and philanthropic investment’’.

It showed the CCDU was looking for upwards of $10m for the art trail, a key part of the Avon River precinct, $24m for the metro sports facility, $10m for the library and $10m for the Margaret Mahy Family Playground. 

The CCDU’s focus was on securing investment for the first four projects but ‘‘only some of the possibilities are mentioned here’’, the handout said.

It said many of the anchor projects provided opportunities that were ‘‘beyond the available budget’’ but which would further enhance them.

The CCDU this week told The Press the playground had a budget of $20m and was fully Crown funded.

Guest speaker Antony Gough said The Terrace development, his flagship project in the retail precinct, was still in ‘‘pause mode’’ but construction would resume in about two or three months.

‘‘It will go, have faith,’’ he said.

Among the reasons for the stoppage, which began in April, was that tenants were wanting bigger spaces than previously thought, Gough said. ‘‘So we’re changing it. 

‘‘And we’re also doing value engineering otherwise known as cost-cutting.’’

Designs had been altered and an ‘‘equity partner’’ had been secured for the proposed Westpac building.

Isaacs conceded some anchor projects had taken longer to get off the ground than hoped.

‘‘There is a little bit of slippage that happens with the range of projects and value of the projects we are dealing with.’’

However, the city now had a ‘‘fantastic outlook’’ and progress announcements on many projects could be expected soon, he said.

The winning tender for the bus interchange would be announced next week while the business case for the metro sports facility was almost complete.

Four out of 12 firms had been shortlisted as potential residential development partners with the Crown in the eastern frame, Isaacs said. 

‘‘These are a mix of local, national and international firms and the level of interest has been very encouraging.’’

An announcement on the convention centre was ‘‘very close’’ and a valuation of the project was almost finished, he said.

‘‘It’s not just about the convention centre, it’s the whole precinct and we want a hotel, residential use, commercial, retail and food and beverage and it’s highly likely to be achieved,’’ Isaacs said.

Philanthropic and sponsorship targets:

- Avon River precinct/Art trail: $10m-plus

- Metro sports facility: $24m-plus

- Margaret Mahy Family Playground: $10m-plus

- Central library: $10m-plus

    The Press