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New addition to Ashburton

A $40 million precinct aimed at both tourists and locals is planned for central Ashburton.

The Eastfield Precinct will create 77 apartments, hospitality outlets, shops, offices, a medical hub, car parking and a public square.

The project comes from a group of private landowners with earthquake-damaged buildings, who have decided to join forces. The Ashburton District Council has a 32 per cent stake in the company and owns some of the land.

The combined site covers more than a hectare of land bordered by Tancred, Burnett and Cass streets and the Ashburton Arcade.

Under the name Eastfield Investments Ltd, the group gave the council a briefing on the plan yesterday.

Company spokesman and shareholder Brian Davidson said the development had evolved over 31⁄ 2a half years from what was initially a response to the earthquakes. They hope to start construction in the middle of next year and stage it over three years.

Eastfield Precinct would give tourists more choice of accommodation, provide an attractive place for private apartments and professional offices, and bring ‘‘more life and activity’’ to the area, Davidson said.

‘‘With so many landowners, experts and the council working together on the project, Eastfield Precinct is a real demonstration of what we can achieve in the district.’’

The plan includes 55 serviced tourist apartments, which he said would be a first for the town, and 22 two and three-bedroom apartments available for purchase. Alongside would be the offices, outlets for cafes, bars and restaurants, and a small number of boutique shops.

The ‘‘state of the art’’ medical complex was in response to an identified need in the town.

It would house doctors surgeries, a pharmacy and physiotherapist, and other specialist services.

The project has been designed with the help of a retail geography specialist, an urban designer, and Christchurch project architect Bill Skews.

Davidson said this meant the plan made sound commercial sense and offered a ‘‘vibrant and dynamic place to visit, enjoy a range of hospitality and entertainment, work and even live in the heart of Ashburton’’.

Mayor Angus McKay said the precinct would help revive the damaged town centre and complement rather than compete with existing facilities.

‘‘It’s good news – it will bring people back into the central business area.’’

Source:

  • Liz McDonald
  • The Press

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