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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

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


Not only is our Te Papa Ōtākaro Avon River Precinct project the largest urban transformation ever undertaken in New Zealand, but now it has also been deemed this year’s best, winning the prestigious George Malcolm Award for supreme excellence at the 2019 New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architecture Awards.

 

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

The Avon River Precinct includes the City Promenade, the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, The Terraces, the Victoria Square and Bridge of Remembrance restorations, all the artworks and plantings along the river and the Margaret Mahy Family Playground. We’ll have the remaining elements completed next year.

The judges noted, “Te Papa Ōtākaro has emerged as a significant and transformative urban landscape, maximising the opportunity provided by the earthquakes, to develop an exemplary interweaving of urban edge and river. Enhancing the cultural landscape of the city, as well as the ecological and social values, has provided Christchurch with a central core that holds the city together, and re-presents it with a new vision.”

The real beauty of the Avon River Precinct, which was also named as one of three finalists for Most Improved River at the 2019 New Zealand River Awards, is that it will only get better with time, as the plants and gardens mature, as more people take the time to walk and enjoy the City Promenade and as more private developments and public projects, like Te Pae, start opening out onto it.

Congratulations to our partners on this project: Christchurch City Council, Matapopore Charitable Trust, and the outstanding design teams at LandLAB, Boffa Miskell, WSP-Opus, and Rough & Milne.

 

 

 


 

John Bridgman

John Bridgman: The Influencers


Many of us have spent much of the past few weeks staring at rugby fields as the World Cup rolls on.

 

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

Put two of these fields side by side and you’ve got an area similar to that covered by the Metro Sports Facility, which we currently have under construction.

We’re now into the thick of the foundation concrete pours on the site that will support the nine indoor courts and the competition, diving and leisure pools.

In total, the project will require around 16,000m3 of concrete and 3700 tonnes of structural steel to build. That’s only slightly less than our other major project, Te Pae, which everyone can clearly see is a substantial central city building.

Once all the foundations are poured for the Metro Sports Facility, people travelling along Moorhouse Avenue and St Asaph Street will start seeing the structural steel going up early next year.

We know that thousands of people will visit, and dozens of events will be held at the Metro Sports Facility each year once the doors are open, providing an economic boost for the city. But it’s worth remembering the build itself is also doing that, with over 300 people expected to be working on the site at the height of construction.

That’s a big team, doing an important job, but I appreciate it’s not the main sporting fixture we’re all focused on at the moment.

 

 

 

 


 

John O’Hagan: The Influencers


While it’s a scenic part of the city, the riverside section of Oxford Terrace between Kilmore Street and Fitzgerald Avenue, known as the Avon Loop, also currently features a mix of overgrown plants and broken asphalt as a result of the earthquakes. So, we are looking forward to getting work underway in the area later this year to make this section of Oxford Terrace a safer and more pleasant place to be.

Ōtākaro Limited General Manager Development

A smooth pathway for pedestrians and cyclists, boardwalk, canoe/kayak ramp, native planting and new lighting will be incorporated into the area, along with some car parking.

The Loop will also be the pedestrian/cycling connection between our recently completed work on the City Promenade and any future developments in the Residential Red Zone.

Most of the homes in the Avon Loop were removed a long time ago but we know that many former residents are still passionate about the area. While we are not carrying out any work on the former residential land, everyone agrees this project is an important step in revitalising this part of the city.

It will enable and encourage people to come back to the area by creating an easy to follow route from the Avon Loop to other key city features like the Margaret Mahy Family Playground, Victoria Square, Te Pae, The Terraces and the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.

We are currently evaluating tenders for the construction work and look forward to keeping you updated on our progress throughout the project, which we expect to have completed early in 2020.

 

 

 

 


 

New Central City Asset

New Central City Asset


Waka tours on the Avon River are set to become a new central city attraction with Ōtākaro Limited divesting the site at 794 Colombo Street to Ko Tāne, for the development of a $3.5m riverside cultural centre.

 

New Central City Asset

 

Ōtākaro Chief Executive John Bridgman says it’s an ideal site for the Ko Tāne venture given how close it is to known visitor destinations like the City Promenade, Te Pae, Victoria Square and the Town Hall.
“The City Promenade has proved a hit since we opened it in November but it’s the private developments like this that sit alongside it, that will make it a true asset for Christchurch.”

Ko Tāne has been providing interactive wildlife and Māori cultural experiences to local and international visitors for the past 13 years at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. Ko Tāne Director, David Brennan, says the design of the 250m2 Puari Village is inspired by a voyaging waka and will feature exhibitions, art and contemporary Māori cuisine, and be the base for city and waka tours.

Fellow Ko Tāne Director, Mark Willis, says work on Puari Village will start around the middle of 2019 with the aim of opening it late in 2020. “With new spaces opening all the time and Te Pae and the Town Hall on the horizon, it’s a great time to be bringing the Ko Tāne experience into the central city. “We can’t wait to get our paddles in the water.”

 



 

John Bridgman

John Bridgman: The Influencers


John Bridgman
Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

As we head into Christmas let me give you a few numbers on Ōtākaro’s projects that help illustrate how far we have come in Christchurch’s regeneration this year – 29,000 plants and 600,000 thousand pavers make up the City Promenade that now lines the Avon River; 97,000 hours went into repairing, widening and reprioritising Manchester Street for buses; 15,000 cubic metres of concrete and 1,450 tonnes of steel are taking shape as Te Pae, the city’s new convention centre, which is now 25 percent complete.

A more significant measure of progress may be considering the spaces we can once again use. In February the former site of the CTV building was reopened as a green space for peaceful reflection, as desired by the affected families. Victoria Square emerged from a 13-month restoration in March and the determination to retain its iconic character has recently been recognised with a Civic Trust award. The Bowker Fountain is back to its fully illuminated former glory, and the paths levelled and widened to make the area safer, more accessible and ready for the likes of Carols by Candlelight.

In October we opened the fourth and final gathering space in the South Frame – Kahikatea Common – complete with native plants, seating and the central city’s first butterfly enclosure.  It feels like a year that has gone faster than Santa down a chimney and I hope you have noticed the changes. All the best for the holiday season and I look forward to updating you on what lies ahead for Ōtākaro in the New Year.