3 Jun 2014

Container mall to shut prior to move

10:34 am on 3 June 2014

Retailers in Christchurch's so-called container mall are to shut up shop for the next 10 days while the containers are shifted to another spot to allow redevelopment to begin in the quake-damaged Cashel Street mall.

The Re:START container mall was put together about a year after the 2011 earthquakes in a bid to breath new life into the central city.

Retailers in Christchurch's so-called container mall are on the move.

Retailers in Christchurch's so-called container mall are on the move. Photo: PHOTO NZ

However, leases on the land have since expired and landowners want to get back into Cashel Street and redevelop their properties.

Starting on Tuesday, twenty of the refurbished shipping containers will be lifted and moved to the Bridge of Remembrance, to join those already situated beside department store Ballantynes.

Some retailers have told Radio New Zealand the container mall concept hasn't worked out for them, mostly because of a lack of patronage, so they are going elsewhere.

One of them is Vanessa Dyer who manages the gift shop Toi Toi. She said she has a store elsewhere in Christchurch on which she intends to focus.

Others like Greta Washington who owns shoe shop, Head Over Heels, said they have done well and will move the shop to the new location.

Some shop owners said the past six months have been difficult because, although the move has been flagged for some time, landlords haven't been able to confirm dates while they themselves have waited on logistics like insurance payments, architects and builders.

Carolyn Barker, the owner of fashion label Plush, said life in the container mall has been a bit of a mixed bag.

She was grateful to have been able to continue trading in a city that was "basically wiped out" but she said tourists don't visit in the winter anymore.

"It's like a bit of an oasis in a big desert here, a lot of people are quite out of the habit of coming into town."

And there has been praise for the Restart the Heart Trust which operates the precinct for its co-ordination of the move.

Manager of Coffee Central, Donna Dahren, said the Trust's contractors have been preparing for the move all week, and the job has been well co-ordinated.

The million dollar move is paid for by the Restart the Heart Trust and the shops will reopen on 13 June.