29 Nov 2013

Govt steps in over retail precinct plan

3:33 pm on 29 November 2013

Central Christchurch landowners are welcoming a move by the Government to step in and hurry up the development of a retail hub in the centre of the earthquake-damaged city.

Athfield Architects has been appointed to work alongside private landowners to come up with a plan for the three-and-a-half block project which includes the City Mall.

Landowner Peter Guthrey said he is excited that the Christchurch Central Development Unit has stepped in to help, as landowners have been struggling to work together.

Mr Guthrey said a master plan will be essential for attracting quality retailers.

The development unit says car parking, accessibility and the risk of piecemeal development are potential problems to be addressed and architects will come up with a scheme that takes into account all of the owners' plans to date.

Project delivery general manager Greg Wilson said the Crown may have underestimated the challenges faced by developers and overestimated their ability to work through them.

"The Crown needs to assist them to fit those development plans together to make sure they form a coherent whole."

Mr Wilson said the private sector has made good progress so far and the development unit now wants to give advice and support.