11 Aug 2016

Doubts new Chch apartments will attracted 'well-heeled people'

8:36 am on 11 August 2016

A network of multi-million-dollar apartments on the eastern edge of central Christchurch may struggle to attract buyers, warns a local realtor.

The site for a planned a network of multi-million-dollar apartments in central Christchurch.

The site for a planned a network of multi-million-dollar apartments in central Christchurch. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Valued at $800 million, the project has been planned by the government as a way to attract more than 2000 people to live on the eastern edge of the city's central business district.

The five city blocks set aside for the apartments are bounded by the Margaret Mahy Playground at one end and a group of office blocks, known as the Innovation Precinct, at the other end.

The area was one of the hardest hit in the earthquakes and was now empty, apart from a handful of buildings.

David wallace, a realtor for apartment developer Devonia Holdings, said the area was better known for street prostitution, than for being a nice place to live.

"Supposedly we're going to get a new stadium quite close to there at some time. I'm not sure I'd want to live next door to a stadium.

"You get 30,000 people coming to a game, there's always a number of them who are going to be drinking, throwing stuff all over the place, leaving rubbish, the noise and people parking over your driveway and things like that."

The apartments are going to be priced between $400,000 and $900,000.

Mr Wallace said this was the high end of the market and he doubted people with that sort of money would be looking to move to the east side of the CBD.

"I don't see well-heeled people living along Manchester Street.

"But there is going to be a number of people that will want to live there that will want one bedroom or small two bedroom places. They're going to need to be priced somewhere around that $350 to $550,000(mark)."

The government has selected a division of Fletcher Building, Fletcher Living, to deliver the development, starting within two months, with a mix of townhouses and apartments.

Fletcher Living chief executive Steve Evans said by offering everything from one bedroom apartments to four bedroom townhouses, they hoped to sell affordable and more high end homes.

"I'm not trying to get this to be a western Christchurch over looking Hagley Park exclusive area. I want this to be a community and that is a wide variety of people in the East Frame.

"Affordability is part of the whole rebuilding of the community. You want all sorts of price points."

A vacant space that could soon be home to more than 2000 people.

A vacant space that could soon be home to more than 2000 people. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Unlike most apartment developers, Fletcher Living would not be selling its homes off the plans and was instead adopting an approach of 'build it and they will come'.

"Canterbury is known for bringing some new innovative ways of thinking into a variety of solutions. So whilst there is inherently risk involved in any property development. We've considered that and we think this is a great solution."

Fletcher Living will begin consulting with the public next month on some temporary use ideas for the vacant space that would continue to make up large parts of the East Frame for some time yet.

Mr Evans said he was open to all sorts of ideas, including basketball courts and walls for street art, with the aim of creating a new neighbourhood.

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