New Regent St to open in February
One of Christchurch's most picturesque streets is now likely to reopen in February.
New Regent St, completed in 1931 and one of few big construction projects in the South Island during the Depression, was initally expected to open by Christmas.
New Regent St landowner David Manning, who owns four units in the street, said strengthening and restoration work should be finished by the end of the year and fitout work completed within two months.
"We are looking to open in February, but there is no fixed date yet," he said.
"We are making good progress. Hopefully, the builder will be more or less complete by early January."
The majority of New Regent St shop owners have united under a restoration project led by construction company Naylor Love.
A Christchurch family is restoring their five units with a different contractor and two other owners are restoring their shops independently.
Manning said a real estate agent had been recruited to find new tenants for some units. He said the reopened street could have more food and beverage outlets.
Naylor Love project manager Ed Leeson had originally hoped to have the street reopened by Christmas, but engineering work delayed the project.
New concrete floors have been poured, the upper facades have been repainted in pastel colours and shopfronts are being rebuilt.
"The programme is slightly behind, but we still think we will be able to hand them over to owners by Christmas."
Young Jewellers co-owner John Morrison, who has been working out of a suburban garage in Merivale since the February 2011 earthquake, said he planned to return.
"There are a lot of little buildings and lots of owners and lots of insurance companies involved so it has taken a while to go through the process," he said.
"It is quite a complicated job. We are hopeful that everyone will be finished and opening at the same time."
Kiyeom Kim is restoring his unit at 30 New Regent St independently.
"I have no insurance for my building, so I'm struggling at the moment," he said. "I am borrowing from the bank to cover the work. It is not easy. I have spent about $150,000 on the building so far."
The distinctive Spanish Mission architectural style of New Regent St is unique on such a scale in New Zealand.