LIZ MCDONALD, LOIS CAIRNS- The Press
Two property developers planning precincts around Christchurch's City Mall have proposed rebuilding council car parking buildings.
Philip Carter and Tim Howe have pitched their separate joint- venture car park schemes to city councillors, unveiling designs including grass walls and street- front shops.
The developers and other landowners in the mall have said council inaction over the damaged car park buildings is delaying their plans, and they need parking issues sorted before they can sign tenants.
Carter, who has teamed up with store owners Ballantynes for his development of office buildings and shops, wishes to rebuild The Crossing car parking building next to his land between Colombo and High streets.
The Ballantynes Carter alliance say the footprint and capacity of the rebuilt car park could change. The alliance would manage the development on behalf of the council, with the council retaining ownership and running the facility. It would be open every day and offer one hour of free parking.
However, the council has been reluctant to commit to the proposal because it is still haggling with its insurer over the fate of The Crossing carpark. According to council staff, it could take at least another six months to get a settlement.
Howe's company, Ocean Partners, wants to develop and rebuild the Lichfield St car park adjacent to its properties near the Bridge of Remembrance. Their new building would have 750 car parks, 30 apartments to be sold, and shops at ground level.
The scheme would see the council contribute the land, Ocean Partners construct the building with private sector funding, and the facility run as a joint venture. The council would have the option of buying back the building after 25 years.
Ocean Partners wants to move quickly on the proposal, signing an agreement with the council next month.
The company has been trying to join other landowners and develop the western end of the block between the bridge and Plymouth Lane.
Its $200 million One Cashel Square plan would include several office and retail buildings, plus the car park.
Howe told councillors they were in discussions with the Bank of New Zealand about leasing space in the complex and parking would be critical.
He said a private/public partnership would bring numerous benefits as costings suggested the council had insufficient funds on its own to replace parking buildings.
"An offer to work with the private sector . . . should be given significant consideration," Howe said.
Councillors reaffirmed their commitment to providing at least pre-earthquake levels of car parking in the Lichfield St and The Crossing areas. They also agreed to get staff working with the Ballantynes Carter Alliance on a draft agreement.
The council has already committed, through its cost-share agreement with the Crown, to spend up to $70m on central city parking.