Major central-city tenants keen to return

Christchurch businesses forced out of the central city after the February 2011 earthquake are queuing up to return.

Several major city tenants, mostly in the financial and legal sectors, yesterday eased fears it would be difficult to entice office workers back from suburban business hubs.

Law firm Duncan Cotterill, which lost its office in Clarendon Tower, said on Monday it would shift its a 120-strong work force from Burnside when new office space had been secured.

Anderson Lloyd Lawyers relocated to Birmingham Dr from Clarendon Tower, but chief executive Richard Greenaway said the firm intended to move back to the central city "one day".

“We are working on identifying possible sites and buildings now that the central city blueprint has been announced,” he said.

SBS Bank Canterbury area manager Matthew Mark said his company's pledge to the central city was "stronger than ever".

Westpac planned to move into a low-rise precinct within three years, having worked from Show Pl in Addington since September 2010.

"It is important that other major businesses support the [central city] plan with action and commitment and provide the support needed for growth and a vibrant environment," chief executive Peter Clare said.

ANZ spokesman Troy Sutherland said the recovery plan was a "visionary blueprint".

The bank's headquarters had overlooked Cathedral Square.

"We look forward to bringing the bank and its staff back to a vibrant Christchurch central business district," he said.

Colliers International managing director Hamish Doig said about 76 per cent of "A-grade" tenants surveyed by the firm were keen to return.

"That [76 per cent has] been consistently the case since about October last year and this plan just delivers what that hope and expectation was from those tenants," Doig said.

Suburban business hubs "catered for a need", but the isolation had its own challenges, he said.

The Press