Compulsory acquisition looms for city centre rebuild
Compulsory acquisition of central city sites appears likely with Christchurch landowners standing firm despite a deadline to secure east frame land looming.
The Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) has eight weeks to acquire 10 properties and finalise negotiations with a further 30 landowners.
Sale agreements for 52 of the 92 sites have been finalised.
Some property owners spoken to by The Press labelled the sales process unfair, with one calling it ‘‘a mess’’.
Dean Marshall, director of KPI Rothschild Property Group, which owns Westende House, said the group was still negotiating with the CCDU.
‘‘We’ve given them our final figures on what we’re willing to sell it for. We’ve had to adjust our thinking already but we’re not going to give our land away.
‘‘We’re not asking for top prices, we just want a fair price and the [CCDU’s] valuers came in so hard that it’s made the whole process almost impossible.’’
The two-storey building, on the corner of Worcester and Manchester streets, is just over a year old and cost $4 million to build. Marshall said KPI ‘‘never wanted to sell’’ but was left with no choice.
The CCDU has said it needed to demolish Westende House to widen Manchester St on the edge of the frame.
‘‘If we can’t agree on a price soon then they will just take it. We can apply for compensation and if we’re still not happy with that then basically we have to take it to court,’’ Marshall said.
CCDU director Warwick Isaacs said owners had been informed that negotiations were to be finalised soon.
He said compulsory acquisitions would only take place if the seller or buyer, meaning the Crown, could not agree on conditions or price.
Calendar Girls owner Jacqui Le Prou said she was in ‘‘ what I suppose you could call negotiations’’ with the CCDU.
‘‘But it’s a mess . . . and they don’t know what they are doing.’’
She had not yet received an offer for her Hereford St building.
The August deadline was ‘‘unrealistic’’, Le Prou said.
There has been some confusion about the future of Les Mills on Cashel St and in April CCDU general manager of planning and design Don Miskell said the CCDU had changed its mind on the site.
Acquiring the property was ‘‘considered to be necessary’’ at first but further design work meant consideration was now being given as to whether the gym could remain.
Les Mills marketing director Guy Needham said the gym had ‘‘no news to share’’.
‘‘The CCDU has told us that the possibility of us staying is very alive and very real, but that’s really all we know,’’ he said.
‘‘As a business we want some certainty but so do a lot of other businesses in Christchurch.’’
Brendon Stewart, general manager of Rapaki Property Group, which owns the former IRD building on the Cashel-Madras corner said negotiations had been ‘‘slow and drawn-out’’.
‘‘It’s definitely taken much longer than we thought.’’
- The Press
- Georgina Stylianou