The Crossing opens this week to Christchurch shoppers
Central Christchurch's biggest retail precinct development yet – The Crossing – opens this week.
The $140 million complex is made up of shops and hospitality outlets, plus offices and a car parking building. It has been built in new and restored heritage buildings around a series of laneways and air bridges.
The Crossing has been developed by property investor Philip Carter on a one-hectare block bordered by Cashel, Colombo, High and Lichfield streets.
Eleven tenants will open on the site in the next few days, with others to follow in the next few weeks. A second stage, due to open early next year, will link to Ballantynes department store by an existing air bridge.
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Carter said the opening was exciting and marked the conclusion of years of work. It was intended to be world class and have a sense of style, he said.
"We started with no tenants at all when we committed to this development. It hasn't been easy, but we're pretty well tenanted."
Four buildings make up the complex, with a distinctive round cafe building at the centre.
Opening on Cashel St on Thursday and Friday will be fashion stores Country Road, Trenery, and Witchery, with Seed Heritage on the Colombo St corner. Shoe store Andrea Biani and opticians OPSM will also open their doors. International fashion store H&M will open on Saturday on the corner of Cashel St and High St.
A FreshChoice supermarket, Black and White cafe, florist Bourbon Rose, Flight Centre and the Gift Store are already in business at the Lichfield St end of the complex.
Other tenants – Sunglass Hut, Stirling Women, Ruby, and Ivy Blu and Espresso Carwash – are being fitted out now and will open over the next few weeks. ASB Bank will have offices and a retail outlet in the complex, due to open in October.
Carter said other local and international retailers, including some "big name" brands, would open progressively over the next few months.
British fashion store TopShop will open as part of stage two in the first quarter of next year.
Carter owned some of the site before the earthquakes, including the 1935 former Beaths department store building, and bought the rest of the land for the project. He originally hoped to have the complex open last year.
A feature of The Crossing will be artist Paul Dibble's 2008 sculpture Sleepwalker, a bronze figure based on the mythological character Maui.
Carter owns the work and previously kept it in the garden of his Clifton Hill property, which collapsed over the cliff in the earthquakes. After the sculpture fell 100 metres, thieves tried to cut it up to remove it but Carter managed to rescue and repair it.
It has now been cantilevered over one of The Crossing's lanes.
Carter said the sculpture was "particularly personal" to him. It symbolised the city coming through a natural disaster stronger at the other side, he said.
The Crossing has 1.4 hectares of retail space, half a hectare of office space, and a multi-level car park, run by Wilson Parking, for 630 vehicles. About 200 workers have been on the site during construction.
Two other retail complexes, the ANZ Centre and the BNZ Centre, have already opened in the retail precinct. Under construction now are the Plymouth Lane complex and The Terrace, with the Riverside farmers market complex and the rebuild of the old Guthrey Centre yet to come.