Environment Canterbury has reached agreement in principle with the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) to rebuild their Christchurch office within the “south frame” highlighted in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.
Damaged beyond repair in the February 2011 earthquake, Environment Canterbury’s former offices at 58 Kilmore Street have since been partly demolished and the site will be clear of buildings shortly. The buildings and their contents were insured. Environment Canterbury is currently operating out of several temporary locations across the city and further afield.
Environment Canterbury has worked with the CCDU in developing a plan to build new offices at a site on Tuam Street. Situated within the CCDU’s proposed south frame, this new location offers an opportunity for Environment Canterbury to contribute to and be a key part of the revitalisation of the city’s Central Business District.
Preliminary plans have been drawn up for a new building of similar floor area to Environment Canterbury’s Kilmore Street offices. In addition the new building will have a basement car park to meet the south frame requirement of reduced visible vehicle parking.
The Tuam Street land purchase and building is projected to cost $41 million. This will be funded by the sale of the Kilmore Street premises, insurance payments, and an expected $3 million additional funding. This funding will be sourced from the organisation’s existing property rent structure.
Dame Margaret Bazley, Chair of Environment Canterbury, welcomes the opportunities that the new site offers. “This exciting news about the Tuam Street site sends out a strong and positive message that Christchurch’s recovery is underway, and affirms Environment Canterbury’s commitment to the city’s rebuild. Bringing Environment Canterbury’s staff back to one site in the central city will be a boost for our staff and the city and will help Environment Canterbury to deliver its functions in the most efficient way.”
The Minister for Earthquake Recovery, Hon. Gerry Brownlee, also welcomes the news. “The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan is a bold piece of urban planning into which a great deal of thought and consultation has been put. It is immensely encouraging to see Environment Canterbury committing to this Recovery Plan in this way. As the Christchurch rebuild gathers pace we will see more and more organisations and businesses reconnecting and committing once again to the central city.”