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Justice Precinct Unveiled

More than 2000 people a day are expected to be drawn to central Christchurch after the completion of the city’s new justice and emergency services precinct.

Prime Minister John Key unveiled the more than $300 million project which from 2017 will become the new centralised base for police, fire service, St John, Civil Defence, Corrections and Ministry of Justice.

Three five-level buildings, including 19 courtrooms, will be constructed on a 40,000sqm site between Colombo, Tuam, Durham and Lichfield streets.

It is expected to house 1100 staff and have about 900 visitors daily.

‘‘That’s around 2000 people every day who will use transport services and shop and dine in the inner city, which will help attract retailers and other service providers,’’ Key said.

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Work on Christchurch’s first major public building since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes will begin in February next year and should be open to the public by mid-2017.

A consortium of Opus Architecture, Australian firm Cox and Christchurch’s Warren and Mahoney has been appointed lead architect.

At the peak of construction, up to 500 people will be employed at the site. Key said other options were considered, including having agencies at separate sites across the city or at a complex with a single focus on criminal justice.

‘‘Any of these options would have come at a lower price but we have opted for the one we think will best deliver services for the people of Canterbury, and that will encourage new and better ways of working between all of the agencies,’’ he said. ‘‘This is going to be $300m well spent and a great building for people to work in.’’

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the emergency management centre would be ‘‘internationally first class’’.

He referenced the recently reopened Old Government Building which was built more than a century ago and now considered a ‘‘very beautiful and iconic’’ building. ‘‘I’m very confident, having had a look at the designs [for the precinct] . . .. that in 100 years time it will be as equally iconic and I hope just as useful a facility as when we move in by 2017,’’ Brownlee said.

Warren and Mahoney executive director Andrew Barclay said the precinct was the southern anchor of the CBD and would be a ‘‘truly public building’’.


  • The Press
  • Marc Greenhill marc.greenhill@press.co.nz

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