Smaller tenants looking to return to the Christchurch CBD from the suburbs are snapping up rapidly diminishing space in the city centre. The CBD isn’t for everyone and some businesses are choosing to stay in the suburbs. But many others are keen to take advantage of CBD offerings.
The city market is changing. Landlords initially focused on the large anchor tenants but they’re now turning their attention to filling the final smaller office vacancies in their buildings. Steady enquiry is coming from tenants seeking anywhere from 50sqm to 250sqm. The smaller size of these tenants naturally means they are far more price sensitive than the multi-national corporates. But prices have come back and they’re becoming for realistic for these smaller tenants. Landlords, too, are being more flexible in length of lease terms than the longer leases required to secure space on completion of a lot of the new builds.
There are certainly deals on the table at the moment and I think that we’re seeing the bottom of the market in terms of rental and the top of the market in terms of incentives. Landlords will definitely be getting tougher as the space fills up. Contrary to popular belief, there is not a glut of quality CBD office space. In fact, the reason that there has been this surge in enquiry is because supply is limited. What you see is what you are going to get, and it’s quickly being absorbed. Smaller tenants have a very real fear of missing out.
It may only be 117 metres long, but the short stretch of road between the hospital and new Christchurch Outpatients facility, known as the Oxford Gap, is undergoing some major surgery of its own.
When it opens towards the end of the year, the Gap will cater for a significant amount of traffic. Every day 800 people visit Outpatients along with 300 staff, all arriving by car, bus, bike or on foot. On average 1000 people bike through the Gap each day on their way to or from the city. So, to keep vehicles moving safely and efficiently, Oxford Gap has been redeveloped into what is best described as an airport pick-up and drop-off area, with short-term and mobility parking.
You will drive in from the southern end, near Riccarton Avenue, and exit via Antigua Street. For people walking and cycling through the Gap, there will be a 4.5 metre wide shared path on the west side of the street, adjacent to the hospital, and dedicated pedestrian footpaths on both sides of the street.
To get between the hospital and the outpatients building there is a 12 metre wide raised pedestrian crossing, ensuring users can be easily seen. You can get a good look at the new Oxford Gap layout from the City Promenade, which opens on 25 November.
It’s a big change in a very busy part of the city so when using Oxford Gap for the first time please do so with care while we all get used to the new layout.
A significant milestone in planning the future of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor has been reached, with public notification of the Draft Regeneration Plan which provides guidance on future development of the area.
The draft plan, and details of where hard copies can be seen, are on our website. The deadline for written comments is 5pm on Wednesday 19 December. Another regeneration advancement in recent weeks has been the Christchurch City Council’s development of its Central City Action Plan, which builds on Regenerate Christchurch’s earlier assessment and advice on increasing regeneration momentum in the central city.
The Council’s action plan acknowledges the influence cohesive leadership will have on its success and reflects Regenerate Christchurch’s call to action, particularly for the public sector, to ensure regeneration decisions are made on a “best-for-city” basis.
This will not necessarily come easy – largely due to the fact that there is not necessarily a shared understanding of what “best-for-city” actually means. Nevertheless, it will not be optional and a genuine commitment will be required.
There are always competing demands. Never more so than in a city setting itself up for future success in what could still be described as a challenging environment. Addressing these demands in a manner that considers what will deliver the most benefit to as much of the community as possible, is my idea of a “best-for-city” approach. What’s yours?
The night of Wednesday 31 October was the Foodstarter Pressure Cooker event where five ambitious food and beverage startups from all over NZ vied for the incredible prize package that included distribution across the Foodstuffs South Island retail network. Beefy Green took out the top prize which you can read about at www.foodstarter.co.nz.
Friday 2 November’s alarm went off early, with 200 of our city’s most future-industry focused residents at the brand new AwesomeHQ in the stunning Kahukura building on Moorhouse Ave. The assembled crowd was inspired by Joanna Norris, CEO, of ChristchurchNZ who shared the vision for our city as a global leader of innovation, opportunity, and exploration.
This was followed by excellent Q&A session with the founders of our city’s hottest young startups including Shuttlerock, Skillitics, Romer App, Kea Aerospace, and Boma NZ. If there was any doubt as to the drive and bold ambition fuelling the transformation of our city, one look around the room cured the pessimists.
Later that morning, Startup Christchurch hosted a ‘Fireside Chat’ with George Smith, founder of Glassjar, New Zealand’s first startup accepted into Y Combinator. George shared his journey from UC student idea to Silicon Valley startup thrilling all with his insight.
The amount of support that is available for high growth entrepreneurs in this city is astounding. If you’re not already part of the community, just connect with us at Ministry of Awesome email@example.com and we’ll be honoured to network you in.
It was exciting last month to announce that we’ve begun a series of community workshops with local sporting codes, businesses and the entertainment sector to co-design our city’s new Multi-Use Arena.
As part of the Acceleration Fund that was announced in Budget 2018, the council has requested that $220 million of funding goes towards the new arena and the Government has agreed to earmark the funding for that project.
This funding brings Canterbury’s much needed arena one step closer. It will be a huge boost for the city and it’s important we get it right. That’s why we are bringing the sporting codes, local businesses and entertainment sector together to help us make sure the design is right and the building is fit for purpose. The workshops will allow each of these sectors to hear what they need from the arena, and how it can be made to work best for them. From here a full investment case will be developed to ensure the project is well designed and stacks up financially.
These workshops will ensure the business case is strong and I’m hopeful of seeing early construction work begin in 2021.
We’ve seen with the Metro Sports Facility how working hand in hand with local people can lead to a better result – there we were able to turn around a $70 million budget blowout and get the project back on track. Working with the local community will ensure the arena is fit for purpose and best suited the needs of Christchurch.
As we head into spring, Christchurch is looking spectacular. With the opening of two new city amenities, the $50 million Hoyts EntX cinema complex and Tūranga, the central library, it’s great to see Christchurch residents getting back into the central city. We’ve seen many businesses make the commitment to return to the central city.
Now we need the people of Christchurch to come and experience the unique offerings and make the most of what’s on offer. The Terrace provides an array of new restaurants, bars and cafés with spectacular fitouts and a range of dining options. The Crossing complex provides private lanes and stunning retailers, many of whom can only be found in the central city.
Dispelling the myths of no parking in the central city, there is now more than ever, with around 2900 parks in parking buildings and over 1700 on-street parks. Why not jump on a bus and head into the Bus Exchange, or enjoy the experience on a new Lime electric scooter.
If you haven’t ventured into the central city for a while, I encourage you to head in. Take the kids to the Margaret Mahy Family Playground followed by a coffee or lunch in New Regent Street. Have dinner and a movie at the new Hoyts Entx complex, or have brunch at Little High, with a spot of shopping at The Crossing and Cashel Mall.
Let’s support the local businesses that have been courageous and made the commitment to lead our central city’s regeneration.
I was amazed to learn that there are just over 2100 registered charities in Christchurch. On top of that, there will be many, many other causes that most of us don’t even know about unless they have touched us in our private lives.
The problem is, if you are wanting to gift some money to a cause, how do you know which ones are legit and which ones might not be quite as robust in their operations and governance? It’s an often voiced concern from individuals and organisations looking to donate often significant amounts of money.
This is where I want to put in an unashamed plug for The Christchurch Foundation. We’ve been going a year now and have raised just short of $4 million – the first $2.5 million was recently gifted to Tūranga, the new central library, by TSB, Spark and Southbase.
Our job is to help individuals and businesses to identify causes to which they want to gift money and to help with due diligence.
We broker win-win relationships between those who give and those who receive. The foundation isn’t cause led; we support donors and their aspirations for the city – be it a community facility such as Tūranga or an organisation supporting women’s health.
People don’t give directly to the foundation, they give through it.
On 25 November Ōtākaro will be holding the City Promenade Scavenger Hunt to mark our completion of this key feature of the wider Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct; $10,000 worth of prizes will be on offer from businesses along the promenade.
By answering 10 simple questions about some of the features along the new waterfront, you could walk away with a voucher from Discover Travel, something dapper from Crane Brothers or an invitation to The Pegasus Arms or Miro for your next meal.
Identified in the Blue Print as an Anchor Project, the Avon River Precinct and City Promenade have transformed the 2km stretch of Oxford Terrace between the Margaret Mahy Family Playground and the hospital. It has been designed to turn the city around to face and embrace the river like never before.
The paved promenade incorporates art and literary works, rain gardens and other greenery, terraced seating and steps along the river. It’s a route for slow-speed vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, prams, scooters; anyone looking to take a moment and ease their way through the central city. So, the City Promenade Scavenger Hunt can be tackled at a leisurely pace.
Pick up an entry form from either the Antigua Street footbridge or Margaret Mahy Family Playground from 10am on 25 November and it doesn’t have to be in the entry box at the other end until 4pm.
There will be food and entertainment available throughout the day so bring the family and find something very special in the heart of our city.
On a wet Friday in mid-October, a significant milestone in the regeneration of Cathedral Square was reached. The doors to Tūranga – the new central library – were opened to the public.
At nearly 10,000 square metres, it is the largest public library in the South Island. But its significance for the local community amounts to more than just floorspace. The city has not had a central library since 2011. In that time, technologies have continued to advance and the modern library environment is very different from what it was in the past, where people of all ages were required to be seen and not heard.
One thing that has not changed, however, is the role of libraries – particularly central libraries – in a community. At a library, we all have the same level of access to information. At a library, everyone is equal. The value of that equity cannot be underestimated. Nor can the impact Tūranga will have on the vibrancy of Christchurch’s central city, particularly Cathedral Square.
This milestone in the city’s regeneration includes the significant philanthropic support for Tūranga. Through the recently-established Christchurch Foundation, $2.5 million has been gifted by TSB, Spark and Southbase to support the library’s operational overheads.
The momentum being created by the combination of philanthropic support, private sector investment and public sector commitment will ensure the Square becomes an example-of-progress as much as a work-in-progress. It also demonstrates how all sectors working together on a best-for-city approach could work outside Cathedral Square.
One of the biggest on-going problems facing engineering consultancy firms is the lack of engineering professionals available. This creates problems with resourcing projects and growing businesses.
I heard recently that the average age of engineers is 45 and that a lot of the more senior engineers are fast approaching retirement. The reasons are multi-faceted and relate to issues such as the rise of the IT industry, which has attracted students who would traditionally take up engineering studies, and the pull of higher overseas salaries, particularly in the mining sector. We also do not produce enough engineering graduates, which is exacerbated by the fact that some of the engineering students are overseas students, who usually return to their country of origin for work.
Perhaps one of the biggest factors is that engineers traditionally are not good at promoting themselves and, as such, potential engineers of the future are not always aware of the amazing opportunities that an engineering career can offer. If young people had a better understanding of what engineers do, then perhaps more of our students would aspire to be the designer of the next major large dam, motorway or Sky Tower, and not the creator of the next popular PS4 game.
I would encourage the parents of any children with inquisitive minds to consider a career in engineering. The course can be quite challenging, but your children will be guaranteed employment in a well-paying industry, which will offer challenges and progression throughout their career.