Monopoly for Manchester St

DO NOT PASS GO: A Gap Filler project breathes colour and life into a barren site in Manchester St.
DO NOT PASS GO: A Gap Filler project breathes colour and life into a barren site in Manchester St.

Free parking on an earthquake-cleared Manchester St site is on hold while a life-sized Monopoly square moves in.

The mock board game property appeared on the old Cycle Trading Company site near the corner of Manchester and Dundas streets on Monday.

It is priced at $240 and features two houses and a grey digger as the game token.

The work is the brainchild of Christchurch engineer Helen Trappitt and part of the Gap Filler project, which aims to beautify city sites vacant because of quake demolitions.

Many such sites have sat empty since being cleared or been turned into makeshift car parks.

''What struck me walking around inside the cordon was how depressing it is and how awful it looks with all these buildings coming down,'' Trappitt said.

The Monopoly theme hit her as she studied aerial photographs of central-city red-zone buildings she worked on last year.

''I thought how terrible it looked from the air,'' she said.

''It got me thinking how it would look quite cool if we had Monopoly houses on a few sites.''

The project took weeks to plan but just days to build.

Dulux provided the paint and Trappitt had a friend at Blair Cunningham Construction who agreed to waive the cost of two green timber-frame houses.

The Monopoly token proved more challenging.

''I was going to get a vintage racing car to put on the site as the game token, but I couldn't find one,'' Trappitt said.

March Construction solved the problem, providing a 3.5-tonne excavator, painted grey, instead. ''It's more relevant to Christchurch anyway.''

Monopoly aficionados will note the property's value does not match its colour.

Pink properties are priced between $140 and $160 in the New Zealand version of the game. However, Manchester St's nocturnal reputation prompted Trappitt to boost the value.

''I didn't want taggers to come along and edit the work, if you can imagine.''

Trappitt would not elaborate but intimated a $140 pricing could have been a target for mischievous vandals wanting to advertise services that might be obtained in Manchester St for that price.

The display will stay on the site until at least October.

The Press