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The Influencers: John Bridgman


Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

From many parts of the city, and even from the Port Hills, you can now clearly make out the white steel skeleton of what will be the Metro Sports Facility.

Some very big bones were added recently, in the form of the roof trusses for the 2500-seat show court.

The roof is made up of four sections, each of which weighs as much as about 33 cars and has a span close to half the length of a rugby field.

Unsurprisingly, getting these giant steel sections into place to the millimetre was a delicate operation, and it’s just a taste of what’s to come as we create the largest sports and recreation facility of its kind in New Zealand.

These roof sections required one of the big cranes to lift them into place.

The spans over the ten pools will require two cranes to work in tandem.

The 12 metre ceiling height of the show court space is to meet the requirements for hosting the likes of top-level basketball and netball fixtures at the facility.

The grandstand seats will be retractable, to reveal two more courts that can then be used for community competitions.

That’s alongside the six other indoor courts at the southern end of the site, near Moorhouse Avenue.

The sheer size and adaptability of this anchor project we’re delivering are key elements in allowing a wide range of people to reap the benefits of being active.


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

We’re about to let pedestrians, cyclists and scooter riders onto the latest section of the South Frame’s greenway to be completed, between Durham and Montreal Streets.
Completion of the work in this block means you will be able to get from Colombo to Montreal Streets on this new garden-lined laneway, away from the traffic on Tuam or St Asaph Streets which flank it.
Taking this journey will, however, draw your attention to the few sections of the South Frame still to be completed. The great news on that front is that all the agreements with the relevant landowners are now in place to allow Ōtākaro to finish this anchor project.
This includes Butchers Lane, near Dux Central, which will create a layout for the area similar to that surrounding the ever-popular Little High Eatery. We hope the design encourages a similar style of private development in this area.
Private and public spaces will also come together when the section of the greenway to the west of the ECan building is created. Here the laneway will effectively run though the Team Hutchinson Ford building, with the owners retaining the heritage roof over the top.
Our successful divestment of the Odeon Theatre and Lawrie & Wilson Auctioneers sites in the South Frame to ECan recently will also lead to additional activity in this ever-growing green space.


 

John Bridgman

The Influencers: John Bridgman


One of the pleasing aspects of our work delivering anchor projects for Christchurch is the positive impact on suppliers.

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

We’re spending over $10m a month in the city at the moment. We’ve profiled some of those suppliers in recent in-house video updates.

Local company, John Jones Steel is producing 4500 tonnes of fabricated steelwork for the large Metro Sports Facility. It’s the biggest project in the company’s 50-year history and will keep them busy for a year.

John Jones Steel notes that their staff and families look forward to swimming in the competition and leisure pools, and playing on the court and other facilities, making it a special project for them.

That steel is being hoisted into place by Titan Cranes, which has three of the largest cranes ever used in New Zealand on-site, including a massive 500-tonne crawler crane especially imported for the project. I’m with one of the crane operators who notes excitedly: “You’re never too old to ride a hydroslide!”

But it’s not just the large companies that benefit from these projects. Remarkable Surfaces, a small family business based at Wigram, is spray painting the 487 gilded boxes that compose the ceiling design in the vast banquet room at the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.

This is the largest project that Remarkable Surfaces has ever undertaken, and they are indeed doing a remarkable job.

With Covid-19, these are challenging times to be delivering major construction projects. We look forward to having them completed for the enjoyment and benefit of us all.


 

 

John Bridgman

The Influencers: John Bridgman


Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

It seems the recent extended stay within the confines of our own homes has led many people to consider whether the grass might be greener over by Rauora Park, where Fletcher Living is experiencing a surge in interest in its One Central homes, post-lockdown.

Of the 172 homes currently on offer, ranging from one-bedroom apartments through to four-bedroom townhouses, 100 have now been sold.

As the number of residents has grown, so has the sense of community. Many people are notably excited by the fact they will be living on the doorstep of the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena, with its All Blacks and big acts.

With more than half of the existing homes now sold, Ōtākaro and Fletcher Living are in the thick of working out what comes next, but rest assured the future development sites will not be sitting idle.

In August, Fletcher Living’s placemaking partner, Gap Filler, will be holding the Good Vibes Winter Festival in the area, which will be followed by the A&P City Farm in November and, naturally, a Christmas Carnival in December.

Add to the mix record low home loan rates and the next few months offer a great opportunity to scope out what living in central Christchurch looks like. And let’s face it, any excuse to get
out of the house these days is a welcome one.


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


John Bridgman
Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

So much of central Christchurch has a shiny new face, meaning opportunities to rejuvenate buildings with historic charm are now relatively rare. But on 13 August we’ll be taking to auction the illustrious Odeon Theatre and neighbouring Lawrie and Wilson building in a heritage offering like no other.
The Odeon’s white stone street frontage, entry and stairs carry a Category 1 listing. It was designed in 1883 by Thomas Stoddart Lambert as a public theatre and hall, and later transformed to a vaudeville venue, cinema and church. It has hosted the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier and the Old Vic company as well as a public meeting with Kate Sheppard for the women’s suffrage movement. The Lawrie and Wilson building dates back to 1911 and was built as auction premises.
It’s no secret that heritage projects are hard work, so this is a proposition for those who want to give something back to Christchurch by reinvigorating the hidden treasure that is the Odeon. Also included in the offering is the large parcel of vacant land adjoining the two heritage buildings, fronting onto the high-profile intersection of Tuam and Manchester Streets.
Some fantastic restoration work has already been carried out around the city but we know a lot of the local developers who like heritage projects have their hands full at the moment, so this is a great opportunity for other parties to potentially take centre stage.

 


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


 

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

 

Construction is back up and running at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre after a shutdown during the COVID-19 restriction period.

Work kicked off again at Level 3 with a smaller team and strict social distancing requirements, and as we return to the city it is brilliant to see how quickly the building façade is progressing along Oxford Terrace.

The pandemic is affecting the business events industry worldwide and we are not immune to that.

The centre’s Business Development team has been working closely with affected clients to reschedule their events to a later date, which has kept most of these events in Christchurch.

General Manager Ross Steele has advised they now have 67 events confirmed for Te Pae Christchurch, which is a 30% increase on the number of bookings at the end of 2019.

These are projected to bring over $40 million of economic benefit to the city.

Understandably, given the current climate, eight upcoming events have been cancelled due to uncertainty around travel and the delayed completion of the building.

When the venue opens, personal safety is likely to still be at the front of people’s minds.

The hygiene and safety standards being used will be consistent with other venues around the world managed by our venue operator, ASM Global.

In business as usual, an exceptional local winery, Sherwood Estate Wines, has secured the first major supply contract.

Supporting the city’s economic and social recovery is one of Te Pae Christchurch’s key objectives and they tell me they expect to sign up more local suppliers shortly.


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


 

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

Between Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and the Metro Sports Facility alone, Ōtākaro has been pumping around $15m a month into the construction sector, on behalf of the Government.

Pre-lockdown, around 600 people were active across both sites and we’re continually working to get back to that level, while maintaining safe working distances.

When you consider these numbers and how that money then flows onto the suppliers of parts and materials, that’s a lot of people receiving a pay packet each week because of these infrastructure projects.

They put Canterbury in a strong position when it comes to economic recovery, as these projects aren’t just ‘shovel ready’, they’re out of the ground.

Construction work will now be carrying on at Te Pae Christchurch into the new year and work at the Metro Sports Facility is back near full capacity.

Alongside these projects, work on the South Frame is back underway and the North Frame pedestrian bridge construction is ramping up.

Our friends at Fletcher Living will also have work going on at One Central for several years. These projects all put money directly into the hands that swing the hammers.

It’s a skilled workforce supported by a wide range of design, legal and finance professionals, that can look forward to being busy for a long time in this region with the likes of the Canterbury Arena and Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor on the horizon.

There may also be other local projects the Government opts to support to help our economy bounce back from COVID-19.


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

On a recent Saturday morning, walking to the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial service, I was struck by the importance of ‘people spaces’ to our central city.

A space like Worcester Boulevard, which existed before the quakes, connects the river and city centre at one end with the Christchurch Art Gallery, Museum, Botanic Gardens and the Arts Centre. On this mild, Saturday morning it was bustling with visitors and locals alike, many bound for Electric Avenue.

Along the Avon River Precinct, people were sitting on the leafy inclines of the riverbank. On the adjacent City Promenade, which is probably the most popular amenity we have completed to-date, a steady flow of cyclists, pedestrians and joggers were making use of this pleasant new central thoroughfare.

Heading upstream, I started to hear the buzz of the vibrant new Riverside Market, where happy diners were enjoying brunch in the sun on the seating that spills out onto the Promenade.

Contrast that with the sombre but serene feeling of the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial, where I was honoured to place a wreath.

Together with the grassy, tree-lined north bank side of the memorial, this is a great space to both sit and reflect, and for our city to host large, commemorative events.

My team at Ōtākaro is really proud of these ‘people spaces’ we are building in central Christchurch.

Clearly these places, where we get to experience the whole gamut of emotions, are important to us.


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

We recently completed the first quarter of Christchurch’s biggest jigsaw puzzle, which at first may not seem like a major achievement but it has 43,000 pieces!

The façade on Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre is a significant feat of architecture and engineering.

Each of the fibre cement tiles is placed individually on a panel in a layout that creates the look of a braided Canterbury river.

But colour is only one part of the equation, with a complex curved steel structure to support the 1,604 panels required to deliver the full effect.

Designed by Woods Bagot in association with Warren & Mahoney, and Matapopore, the five varied tones of grey and different surface textures in the façade give the building the characteristics of a ‘living surface’.

This intricate façade was selected because Te Pae Christchurch sits on a prime central city site, chosen because it’s on the doorstep of some of the best dining, shopping and accommodation Christchurch has to offer.

So, we had a responsibility to deliver a facility befitting this prominent riverside site and the significant buildings surrounding it.

It is great to see that vision coming to life as this iconic facility will be around for a long time.

The tiles are expected to last for more than 50 years and are fully recyclable, as it’s unlikely anyone will want to take a second go at putting this puzzle together.


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


It’s not just the number of seats in the auditorium that the organisers of international conventions look at when selecting their next venue in a globally competitive sector.

John Bridgman
Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

Transport, hospitality and quality of accommodation are also crucial in the decision-making process. So, it’s great for Christchurch that Ōtākaro recently secured a development agreement with the Carter Group for up to four hotels on the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre site, including one five-star hotel.

A five-star hotel near the venue is a requirement for what are considered marquee international events. These sorts of events will help Te Pae Christchurch stimulate the nearly $100m worth of economic activity each year it’s estimated the city is currently missing out on.

A five-star offering will certainly add a string to the marketing bow of our operator ASM Global, which now has 40 confirmed events and around another 120 interested in coming to Christchurch once Te Pae is open in October.

Our agreement with the Carter Group also enables new developments by the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch to the north of Armagh St, along the Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct. This will allow this award-winning Anchor Project to reach its full potential as a place for people.

These new developments will use a third of the vacant private land in Christchurch’s CBD east of the Avon River and serve as a fantastic example of how Ōtākaro can meet its dual objectives of delivering both commercial and regenerative outcomes for the city.