Breathe Urban Village set to go!

After months of silence, the developer behind an ambitious residential development in central Christchurch is confident the project will go ahead.

Despite rumours that the future of the Breathe Urban Village was uncertain, Christchurch builder Ian Smart said details about the project would soon be announced.

Information about the urban design project – intended to showcase inner-city living in post-quake Christchurch – has been scarce since the competition winners were announced in 2013.

11171365Italian firm Anselmi Attiani Architects, Christchurch’s Holloway Builders and engineers from Cresco Group won the Breathe competition with their eco-friendly, timber-clad village.

The Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) has refused to answer questions about the status of the project for months but developer Smart yesterday told The Press the development would definitely go ahead.

Smart was the founder of Holloway Builders but has since left the firm. He said there would soon be an announcement about the project, which was earmarked for the former Charlie’s Backpackers site on the Madras St-Gloucester St corner.

The site features on the CCDU recovery blueprint and the competition was hailed as the catalyst for other residential developments within the four avenues.

CCDU director Warwick Isaacs would not provide any detail about the project.

“The CCDU is still considering issues relating to the project before any final arrangements are reached with the developer,” he said.

Last year Anselmi Attiani said it was working on a sound financial plan to ensure the project could go ahead.

It hoped to combine “low construction cost and prefabrication methods to make the project viable”.

Isaacs was vague when asked if the developers had asked for financial support from the Government.

“The project is a partnership between the Crown and the developer, and the parties are working towards reaching final arrangements,” he said. The consortium designed a medium-rise urban village consisting of 85 timber-clad, affordable flats and terraced houses.

Companies Office records show Smart is the sole director and shareholder of Breathe Limited, incorporated in November 2013, the month after the winners were announced.

He is also a director and shareholder of Bang New Zealand Limited alongside three Italians from Cresco Group. The company was registered in January 2014 and is described as a wholesale building supplier.


  • Georgina Stylianou
  • The Press

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