28 Apr 2017

Container mall tenants look to next step

11:02 am on 28 April 2017

Christchurch's container mall is preparing to close up shop.

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Photo: Supplied

The Re:Start mall was one of the first things to pop up in the city's derelict central business district after the February 2011 quake, as way of attracting retailers and shoppers back to the central city.

But traditional retail spaces and businesses are returning to the city and the Re:Start the Heart Trust, which manages the mall, has decided it is time to move on.

"Originally we thought it would only be [open] for 12 months," said trust chairman John Suckling.

"Five-and-a-half years is long enough for us to be involved, and it's important for the private sector to take over.

The containers would next week be sold to the land's owner, Richard Peebles, who was planning to turn the block into a farmers market.

Mr Suckling said some shops would remain open on the site until construction work started later this year, but many had already found new spaces.

Long-time Christchurch business Scorpio Books was a Re:Start tenant for five years and recently moved to a permanent space nearby.

Co-owner Dave Cameron said the mall had made it possible for the business to return to the central district at a time when the city was slow to reopen. "The Re:Start [mall], that was the centre of the city."

Christchurch's Central City Business Association chairman Brendan Chase said it was the right time for Re:Start to wrap up, with large developments cropping up in the central city.

But there would be small businesses which could not afford high rents and long tenancy agreements in new CBD buildings.

"In a lot of new buildings the leases are long, six years is probably a minimum term," he said. For some small businesses it would be reckless to sign a lease that long.

Mr Chase said central and local government should to look how to make a place for smaller businesses.

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