Rent-free land for IT hub

7:55 am on 29 July 2011

A hi-tech IT centre is to be developed in Christchurch after the city council approved the use of 2.5 hectares of its land.

The council on Thursday granted the temporary use of the former Para Rubber site on the corner of Tuam Street and Manchester Street to private development company Enterprise Precinct and Innovation Campus (EPIC) Ltd. The land will be rent-free for three years.

EPIC has been created to stimulate growth of high innovation in central Christchurch. The centre will be home to about 440 employees working for more than 30 small to medium-sized IT businesses.

The main aim of the two-stage development is to provide businesses that lost their premises in the February quake with a site to help them get back on their feet.

The venture is likely to receive funding from several government agencies. Money generated by the temporary hub will be used to establish a permanent central city site.

One of EPIC's founders, Colin Andersen, says the campus will resemble the plush surroundings of companies such as the IT giant Google.

The lease will start once the council is satisfied EPIC has secured sufficient funding.