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.
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 Garden City will soon become an edible garden city with construction of the Ōtākaro Orchard back underway.
The orchard will include a food forest, an edible garden, educational and event spaces, a local food information centre, an outdoor amphitheatre, dome greenhouse and a café.
After construction commenced in June 2019, foundations were laid and above-ground structural steel work began on the Cambridge Terrace site. Activity paused when the project hit a funding roadblock that September.
A scaled-back version of the project resumed last month following a $150,000 lottery grant and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Once completed, the orchard will include a food forest and free edible garden, educational and event spaces, a local food information centre, an outdoor amphitheatre, dome greenhouse and a café.
The site will also feature composting toilets, a green roof, and storm water retention and recycling system for irrigation.
“The photo voltaic solar array will have to wait at this stage, but we will make sure that the building is solar ready so that it can be added without fuss at a future time – hopefully during construction as support and excitement grows,” Chair of the Ōtākaro Orchard Project Control Group Murray James says.
He says there is an approximately $120,000 funding shortfall, which the board hopes to bridge with donations and “assistance from the construction supply chain”.
“The team is pleased that within our substantially lowered budget we have been able to retain many of the sustainable and exemplar feature that were part of the original design,” he says.
The Ōtākaro Orchard is a project of the Food Resilience Network, an organisation centred around the philosophy of creating accessible and sustainable food sources.
The project emerged from the council’s post-earthquake Share an Idea campaign, which invited locals to submit concepts for a rebuilt central city.
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.
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.
Many of us have spent much of the past few weeks staring at rugby fields as the World Cup rolls on.
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.
“We have lived and breathed this project for three years. To see it come to fruition, looking and feeling just as we imagined it, is far more than simply satisfying. It is absolutely thrilling. Now we want the people of Christchurch to love it too.”
Richard Peebles, Mike Percasky and Kris Inglis – the men behind High St Lanes and Little High Eatery – witnessed the opening of their latest development, the Riverside Farmers’ Market in Christchurch’s city centre, on Monday 30 September.
“We had heard a great deal from overseas about the growth phenomenon that is urban farmers’ markets. Selling local growers’ and producers’ fresh products locally has become a worldwide trend based on the ethics of sustainability and the need to reduce food miles and our carbon footprint. There is a superb example of this concept in Copenhagen that we researched and that convinced us Christchurch was right for a similar venture.”
A development of the scale envisioned right in the heart of the city would not have been possible without the availability of a suitable site. The one viewed as optimal by the property investors was at the intersection of Cashel Mall and Oxford Terrace, occupied by the Container Mall. “This was the beginning of a long process of convincing the right people of the viability of our vision and of eventually negotiating to purchase the site from Ōtākaro Ltd, the Crown-owned company delivering the central city anchor projects.”
An initial concept design with 3D modelling by John Ayres of Creative Studios, Christchurch architectural designers, was modified and tweaked several times. That, along with irrefutable evidence of the benefits of farmers’ markets presented by the three indefatigable partners of the Peebles Group, eventually won the day and the concept could begin to transform into reality. “We demonstrated how much this development could contribute to the regeneration of the central city, to the engagement of Christchurch citizens and to the activation of the entire area.”
The result is a stunning complex of four buildings interconnected by lanes leading from the Avon River through to Ballantynes. It includes a 3,500 square metre farmers’ market with about 70 vendors and food stalls, as well as laneways with boutique retail businesses. “The complex has a rustic and heritage vibe, reflecting the history of the city and deliberately incorporating recycled materials – rimu, bricks, iron-bark wharf timber, windows, 100-year old wallpaper and even two faces of the clock from the Moorhouse Ave railway station.”
The investors acknowledge that the project could not have eventuated in the way it did without the input of all the consulting firms – DCM Urban Design, Creative Studios, Kirk Roberts, Bonisch Consultants, Novo Group, Holmes Fire, Kirkcaldie Interiors, ThompsonCo, White Associates and the main contractor Consortium Construction. “We have entrusted these specialists with previous developments and once again they have delivered.”
Richard, Mike and Kris want the complex to become the heart of the city, to attract people into town and to keep them there. It won’t be a place purely to buy food and to eat it; it will be a hub, attracting festivals, choirs and events and hosting musicians and handicraft vendors. “We think it is set to become Christchurch’s number one tourist attraction.”
No sooner had we started construction on the Metro Sports Facility that the questions started coming in about car parking.
It’s great that people are so excited about the facility, so let’s take this opportunity to look at what lies outside of the building.
A significant portion of the site is being made available for parking. There will be around 550 car parks for people visiting and working at the Metro Sports Facility. By comparison, the similarly large Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre has 459 spaces for visitor use.
Access to the Metro Sports Facility car park will be managed by the Christchurch City Council, as the owner of the facility.
The Metro Sports Facility’s location on Moorhouse Ave will also assist with parking as a lot of the businesses in the streets to the south operate during standard working hours. This means there will be additional on-street parking available in the area in the evenings and weekends; the facility’s busiest times.
Of course, a car won’t be your only option. The Metro Sports Facility sits on the major St Asaph Street and Antigua Street cycle routes.
It’s also about 900 metres away from the Bus Interchange and one block away from the Health Precinct bus stops. The Health Precinct stops are the busiest in the central city and we are currently giving them a major upgrade that includes large shelters.
We want this to be a facility for people of all abilities, ages and stages, and the accessibility of the location is integral to that.
We’ve delivered roads, parks, laneways, a promenade and we have two of the largest buildings in the city under construction – Te Pae and the Metro Sports facility.
But later this year Ōtākaro will take on a new type of project with the North Frame pedestrian bridge. The 32-metre-long, four-metre-wide bridge will connect Cambridge and Oxford Terraces between Colombo and Manchester Streets.
The bridge sits on what we call a ‘desire line’, the route people would take over the bend in the Avon River if it were possible. It will make the trip through the city along the Avon River Precinct quicker for cyclists and pedestrians.
With residential and other private developments planned for the North Frame, it makes sense for us to get in now to do the work, ahead of an influx of people living, working and visiting this area. Christchurch City Council expressed a desire for the bridge to be functional, simple and low maintenance, and this concept design reflects that.
The bridge will run perpendicular to the river, to encourage approaching cyclists and scooter riders to reduce their speed and will mean the main vertical elements of the Taurapa sculpture, which was commissioned by the Seattle Sister City Committee in 1997, will not need to be moved. Work is likely to get underway around November and take about six months to complete.
Out of our long list of construction projects, I’m confident this will be the only one with the added challenge of having to work around the trout spawning season.
‘Building places for people’ is Ōtākaro’s mantra and through this mild autumn it’s been satisfying seeing locals and visitors alike enjoying the public spaces we have created.
We have been especially heartened by the public response to the new City Promenade, our conversion of two kilometres of Oxford Terrace from a conventional street into a shared space, primarily for pedestrians, cyclists and the ubiquitous scooters.
The Promenade really accentuates the river waterfront as a key feature of central Christchurch. A nurse at Christchurch Hospital at the western end of the Promenade told us how much she enjoys her stroll to and from work along the Promenade and the owner of a local backpackers says he gives his guests directions to many city attractions like the Botanic Gardens, Art Gallery or Antigua Boatsheds in relation to the Promenade.
It was great to see the Promenade used as an event space during ChristchurchNZ’s wonderful Lantern Festival. We now have a large events area that links Cashel Mall with the ever-popular Victoria Square, which we restored earlier last year.
In the East Frame, we are also seeing more people in Rauora Park, particularly cyclists and pedestrians using it as a thoroughfare, and new businesses and other amenities are helping to create activation around the lanes and gathering spaces in the South Frame.
There is still much work for us to do to complete the Crown-led anchor projects and we are very proud of our contribution to creating a vibrant CBD for the people of Christchurch.