$217m metro sport facility launched

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 17:48 17/12/2013
John Key
Dean Kozanic
$217M LAUNCH: Prime Minister John Key visits the site of the proposed Metro Sports Facility on the corner of St Asaph and Antigua streets.

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The change to Christchurch's central city will be hard to believe by this time next year, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

Brownlee, Prime Minister John Key and Health Minister Tony Ryall attended the launch of the metro sport facility today with Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton, Christchurch Central Development Unit director Warwick Isaacs and city councillors.

A master plan for the $217 million facility was being developed by design consultants and early construction works would start in the second half of next year.

Key said the facility would cater for all sporting levels - from young children learning to swim to elite athletes training for international competitions.

''Cantabrians love their sport and the region produces some of the greatest sports people ... and they need the best sporting facilities.''

Brownlee said the impact of the construction phase in the central business district ''cannot be underestimated''.

So far the anchor projects had gone to market seeking 13 expressions of interest and 33 requests for proposals, that had generated 251 responses and 44 successful tenders.

The Crown had bought just over 60 per cent of the land required for the projects.

More than 90 per cent of the land needed for three priority projects - the bus interchange, the north part of the eastern frame and the justice and emergency services precinct - had been acquired.

Isaacs said a team was working through the request for proposals to build the convention centre precinct.

''We're looking for people who will do master planning for the precinct and help the Government finance and deliver it in early 2017.''

The design plan for the bus interchange would be signed off before Christmas and the main construction phase would kick off in the second half of next year.

Meanwhile, the retail precinct continued to be a ''vital aspect of the rebuild'' and he expected other developments to get under way early next year.

Contractors would be removing silt and cleaning up the Avon River bed for the next seven months and Isaacs hoped the precinct would be completed in time for New Zealand Cup & Show Week next year.

As for the eastern frame, land for residential development would be up for sale early next year, he said.

The planned stadium, innovation precinct, health precinct, the new library, performing arts precinct and the south frame were not mentioned.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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