Arts Centre boss Andre Lovatt to lead Regenerate Christchurch

Andre Lovatt has been appointed chairman of Regenerate Christchurch.
DAVID HALLETT

Andre Lovatt has been appointed chairman of Regenerate Christchurch.

The man in charge of the $290 million restoration of the historic Arts Centre has been chosen to oversee Christchurch's regeneration.

Andre Lovatt was named on Friday as chairman of Regenerate Christchurch, the new agency set up by jointly by the Government and the Christchurch City Council to lead the city's post-quake regeneration when the Canterbury Earthquake Authority ceases to exist in April.

Lovatt's appointment was approved by both Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel.

Since 2012 Lovatt has been chief executive of the Arts Centre of Christchurch where he has been overseeing the restoration of New Zealand's largest collection of heritage buildings. His efforts there earned him a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award earlier this year.

"We know from his tremendous work in Christchurch that Mr Lovatt will bring positive energy and drive to his role in Regenerate Christchurch," Brownlee said.

Dalziel said Lovatt's experience and his commitment to the city would ensure that he would  have the community's backing in his role as chair.

"We need a strong leader with a clear focus to make this new phase of our city's regeneration really excel, and most importantly someone who can navigate what the Crown and Council each needs. I am very confident that Andre brings exactly that to the table and I very much look forward to him getting started," the mayor said.

Lovatt, who will continue to oversee the Art Centre restoration, said his aim as chairman of Regenerate Christchurch was to make sure the people of Christchurch had a thriving, regenerated city.

"I'm really excited about the job. It's a big job and it's an important job and I'm really optimistic about what we can do. I think the time is right and I think when we look at what has been achieved, now is the time for a different approach and a different drive forward," Lovatt said.

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Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said he was delighted by Lovatt's appointment.

"[He] has shown with his management of the rebuild of the Arts Centre that he has extraordinary capabilities and that he's used to getting great outcomes with extremely limited resource. He has approached the  whole Arts Centre rebuild with a maturity and a skill I have rarely seen in the community," Townsend said..

" I don't think you will hear anyone say a bad work about his capability, his passion for Christchurch, his passion for the rebuild and his acumen to get it done. Great choice and I think you will good things coming out of that."

Property developer Nick Hunt, who is completing the first new building in the central city retail precinct, said Lovatt was one of few people who had made progress in the central city.

"A lot of others have been making a lot of noise since the earthquakes but not achieved much. The Arts Centre Trust has just quietly got on and done it. There's not many people who've got a track record, but he (Lovatt) is one of the ones who has," Hunt said.

Who is Andre Lovatt?

Andre Lovatt may be young but he has amassed a wealth of experience in urban development and project management over the course of his career.

After graduating from the University of Canterbury with a Masters in Engineering in 1998, Lovatt worked at Powell Fenwick Consultants in Christchurch before joining Arup, a global engineering consultancy specialising in major construction projects.

Over 13 years with Arup Lovatt worked his way up to head the company's Singapore-based engineering business, which had a leading role in large scale developments such as the $5 billion Marina Bay Sands waterfront resort and the $1.2b Singapore Sports Hub.

During his time at the helm of Arup Singapore Ltd the company's staff grew from 80 to more than 400 and its turnover more than doubled to $65m.

Lovatt, who also has an MBA degree from the National University of Singapore, returned to Christchurch in 2012 to manage the $290m, seven-year long restoration of The Arts Centre. 

He is a member of the community forum advising the Minister for Earthquake Recovery and a director of Christchurch International Airport Ltd.

He is married to Kate and they have two daughters, Noor and Kiri.

What is Regenerate Christchurch?

* Regenerate Christchurch is the new agency being set up jointly by the Crown and Christchurch City Council to drive the regeneration of Christchurch.

* It will initially oversee the long-term development of the central city, the residential red zone and New Brighton but might also target other areas hard hit by the quakes.

* It will be governed by an independent board, chaired by Andre Lovatt, that will report to both the Crown and the council.

* After five years, Regenerate Christchurch will transfer to the city as a fully Council Controlled Organisation (CCO).

* It will develop plans and strategies to assist with regeneration and work in tandem with the council's newly established development company, Development Christchurch Ltd.

 - Stuff

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