19 Apr 2017

900 new homes under way in central Christchurch

6:11 pm on 19 April 2017

Work has begun on a major housing project in the heart of Christchurch, with promises that the first part will be done in a year.

Fletcher Building CEO Steve Evans (left) and Otakaro ltd CEO Albert Brantley (right) breaking the ground on the construction site.

Fletcher Building CEO Steve Evans, left, and Ōtākaro Ltd CEO Albert Brantley, right, breaking the ground on the construction site. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

The East Frame residential development will provide 900 inner-city homes - estimated to be enough for more than 2000 people - with a mix of apartments and town houses.

The project is led by Fletcher Building and the government rebuild agency Ōtākaro Limited, and will also feature a large inner-city park - the third largest in Christchurch.

Fletcher Building chief executive Steve Evans said the first job was to build an initial 20 terrace homes next to the existing Christchurch Club building.

"We are now at the beginning stages of delivery, we have spent the last 18 months working on design... it's exciting to think there will residents here in the next six months," he said.

Mr Evans said the timeframe to finish the first stage had been brought forward, but it was not a case of sacrificing quality for speed.

"There's a variety of people who want to come back into the city - from first entrants to people who want a retirement pad here," he said.

Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner said these developments would give some variety to the Christchurch housing market.

"At the moment we are probably back to the same number [of houses] than before the earthquakes, I think we will now see a good supply of houses across the city," she said.

She said this development was a good opportunity for the city.

"We see other cities where the price of housing is going though the roof, but our prices are pretty reasonable and people can get into them," she said.

Ōtākaro Limited chief executive Albert Brantley said this was the last committed anchor project to get under way.

"We are hopefully going to turn the doubters who believed the East Frame wouldn't happen into believers," he said.

Fletcher Building's Steve Evans said there had already been interest in the initial 20 town houses, but they would not be sold until they were completed.

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