Where are the anchor projects now?

With a sly smile and wit as dry as a Canterbury Nor-Wester, I heard someone quip many years ago, “the anchor projects; dragging us down, not forward”. Glib, yes. Tongue-in-cheek, hopefully. But it was a sign of the times, when local property developers, investors and owners longed for certainty and clarity when there wasn’t any.

A decade on from the devastating quakes, attitudes have evolved in tune with our skyline.

The last few years have seen the anchor projects go from planning to project, with projects raising from hallowed ground where once stood only rubble.

About the Blueprint

The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (CCRP), also known as The Blueprint, was launched amongst much fanfare in 2014, building on a previous draft plan launched quickly in 2011.

The vision of the CCRP was simple;

Central Christchurch will become the thriving heart of an international city. It will draw on its rich natural and cultural heritage, and the skills and passion of its people, to embrace opportunities for innovation and growth. Redevelopment will acknowledge the past and the events that have shaped the city, while reflecting the best of the new.

The launch of the CCRP came after extensive consultation with the public, community groups and organisations. It defined a new central city “Core” and outlined a series of Anchor Projects to frame this new city, as outlined in the map below:

 

These projects were to be developed and delivered in partnership with a number of agencies, including central government, Christchurch City Council, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the private sector and the community.

One thing the CCRP did was bring certainty around the location of these projects, enabling private developers to plan related facilities and invest with confidence. While the implementation may not have been quite as seamless as many had hoped, and the original timelines indicated certainly have not come to fruition, the Plan did at least give Christchurch a springboard from which to leap.

 

Where are we now?

Project Original delivery date Current delivery date Notes
The East Frame Late 2014 Partially complete. Rauora Park completed in December 2017. No date given for the delivery of the 900 residential homes planned for the East Frame area.
The South Frame Late 2014 No date given. Around three quarters of the South Frame is now complete. Work on the remaining sections will be carried out as land becomes available.
Earthquake Memorial Late 2015 Completed 2017.
Bus Interchange Mid 2014 Completed 2015.
Central City Transport Projects Ongoing Completed 2019. Delivered projects include:

Armagh and Colombo Streets, adjacent to Victoria Square

Manchester Street, from Kilmore Street to Lichfield Street

Durham Street and Cambridge Terrace, from Kilmore Street to Tuam Street

Hospital Corner

Tuam Street bus stops (Outpatients Building)

Convention Centre / Te Pae Late 2016 Late 2021 As of November 2020, the official word from Otakaro was that Te Pae had been victim to COVID-19 delays and is expected to reopen in the second half of 2021. However, Te Pae did cancel all forward bookings for 2021.
Te Puna Ahurea Cultural Centre Further investigations Project abandoned in 2016. Originally a joint venture with Ngai Tahu.
Te Papa Otakaro / Avon River Precinct Late 2015 Work began in 2013 and is ongoing on the final project, the North Frame Pedestrian Bridge.
The Square 2016 Work is yet to commence with no date given for completion.
Retail Precinct Mid 2016 The last of the major projects, the Riverside Market, opened in 2019.
Health Precinct 2018 Partially complete. The Christchurch Hospital Acute Services Building was opened in 2018, with other projects TBC.
Justice and Emergency Services Precinct Late 2016 Completed 2017.
Performing Arts Precinct Mid 2016 The first project, The Piano, was completed in 2016. Construction is yet to begin on the largest project, the new Court Theatre, which is aimed for 2023.
Residential Demonstration Project Early 2014 Project abandoned November 2015.
Metro Sports Facility Early 2016 Construction underway for a 2022 delivery.
Stadium Early 2017 2024. Construction is yet to commence.
Cricket Oval Mid 2013 Completed 2014.
Innovation Precinct Further investigations Partially complete (driven largely by the private sector).
Central Library 2015 Completed in 2018.

In addition to these projects, dozens of other public sector projects have been delivered or are underway. These include:

Christchurch Town Hall

Most notably, Christchurch City Council also elected to restore the Christchurch Town Hall – a project that wasn’t originally on the Crown or Council’s plans – with the project delivered in 2019.

Cathedral Square

A collaborative venture between the Crown and Council, the redevelopment of Cathedral Square hinges largely on the reinstatement of the Christ Church Cathedral, led by the Church Property Trustees, Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust and Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited.

So far, the Council and Crown have made improvements to the southern parts of the Square, with work to be completed by mid-2021.

As far as the Cathedral itself is concerned, work is underway with construction partner Naylor Love currently in the stabilisation phase (estimated to take between 18-24 months) to ensure the building is safe for workers to commence strengthening and reinstatement before finishing the ancillary buildings and tower.

In total, the project is expected to take 7-10 years to complete, provided the current estimated $50m shortfall in funding for the $150 million project can be raised. The project is scheduled to be delivered in early 2028.

 

For further information on the Crown anchor projects, click here.

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