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Flying Kites in the Central Area ...Some Reality Please

Flying Kites in the Central Area ...Some Reality Please...

Liz McDonald and Marta Steeman of The Press report ... RIVALS COMPETE WITH CENTRAL SITE ...

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/8114250/Rivals-compete-for-central-site

With the appropriate “pretty picture” (as always... referred to as a “vision”), Liz McDonald and Marta Steeman provide a brief sketch of the ideas of a number of promoters for a commercial development in the former Central Area.

There are few facts provided and the development expertise and financial capacity of the promoters are not discussed.

The article states...

“Westpac would not comment, and Goodman Property chief executive John Dakin said the company did not comment on the commercial activities of other parties. Goodman was talking to the landowners on the block ‘but at this stage we haven't made any acquisitions,’ Dakin said.”
They were still assessing what plan was best for the city and it had to be commercially viable, he said..”
As Dakin of Goodman Properties states, the key consideration is commercial viability.
Remarkably there has been no discussion as yet in The Press about the numbers of workers and businesses likely to return to the Central Area and the retail and office rental expectations of the promoters.
It is essential these issues are comprehensively covered when promoters ideas are discussed in the media. Thats simply responsible journalism.
It is odd for promoters ideas to be discussed in the public arena, prior to land being secured.
The former Central Area of Christchurch had been in decline for decades, mainly as part of a global trend of cities becoming polycentric. The Councils attempts over the decades to “save” the declining Central Area had been futile and indeed counter – productive.
So competent developers with the financial capacity and a track record of success will be carefully assessing the commercial viability of proposed projects, prior to giving them the “green light” to proceed.
Back September 2011 Sir Robert Jones provided a thoughtful Perspective for The Press, with a rather misleading title ... CBD CAN’T BE REBUILT...

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/rebuilding-christchurch/5696381/CBD-can-t-be-rebuilt-Bob-Jones

I followed up a few weeks later on Interest Co NZ with...CHRISTCHURCH RECOVERY: THE POLITICAL CIRCUS...

http://www.interest.co.nz/property/56362/opinion-hugh-pavletich-sees-political-circus-running-rebuild-and-objects-taking-garde

The article above outlined the “hell” Council had put the former Central business through. They will not forget the experience in a hurry.

In April this year, Lois Cairns of The Press reported on joint research by CBRE (formally CB Richard Elliis) and Lincoln University Property School... SLOW REBUILD DISCOURAGES CBD RETURN...

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/6825381/Slow-rebuild-discourages-CBD-return

This research found that August 201,1 some 44% of firms intended to return to the former Central Area, but by April 2012, this had dropped to 32%.

At the time of the February 2011 earthquake events, there had been some 6,000 firms and about 50,000 workers in the former Central Area.

This research would suggest that by April 2012 some 4,000 of these firms with about 34,000 workers had decided to stay in the suburbs.

The Central Blueprint was released with much fanfare late July. No initial costings, feasibility studies and economic and social impact reports were provided. Some 5 months later, they still have not been released by CERA or Treasury.

Soon after release, leaked information to Chris Hutching of the National Business Review, indicated this could be a $1.6 billion exercise, involving massive compulsory property purchases and “grandiose” loss making public projects, misleadingly referred to as anchors, when in reality they are commercial repellents.

Who is supposed to pay is unknown – but it seems likely the ratepayers of Christchurch will be expected to pick up the bulk of these capital costs and the on going losses, year after year.

The Central Blueprint concept (according to Warwick Issacs of the Central Development Unit...that’s all it is) in reality adds more confusion, uncertainty and delay to the natural and organic recovery of the former Central Area.

Rather amusingly, it could best be described as the SUBURBAN RAPID GROWTH PLAN. It simply makes the former Central Area even less competitive.

It seems likely now 20% or less will return to the former Central Area...just some 1,200 firms and 10,000 workers...eventually.

It will be extremely difficult for the internationally competitive tourism / visitor sector to re-emerge there, if it is unable to provide competitively priced accommodation and associated retail services.

There is a glut of loss making convention facilities currently in Australia too.

Within a speech early last year, the late Sir Paul Callaghan illustrated what a poor economic performer the tourism / visitor sector is ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY

Cantabrians Unite has been very clear that City governance and planning must reflect polycentric trends, as outlined within... CHRISTCHURCH: THE WAY FORWARD ...

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1206/S00251/christchurch-the-way-forward.htm

The “centralization fetish” (“housing” is of little interest to the elitist Government hacks) is idiotic. Preference always trumps policy – and the Authorities at both the Central and Local level are foolish to persist with it.

Much of this is driven by the bureaucrats at both Central and Local level (centralization is a power game to them – ratepayers and taxpayers are expected to pay for), with sadly gullible and witless politicians being their “parrots”.

It would be far better to be focusing on decentralizing the Council for elementary risk management reasons and starting on the path of controlling costs. And too - providing better quality community facilities in suburban areas, where people live, work and shop.

The “One City – Many Communities” approach.

The trend seems clear – with Riccarton becoming the Central West and the former Central Area becoming Central East, with its primary function of serving those in the less affluent east – and too – being priced accordingly, to allow the tourism / visitor sector to emerge.

If it isn’t allowed to be viable, it isn’t going to happen. And the recovery will be stalled even further.

The Government has made it clear that it is focused on restoring housing affordability.

A recent TV One Colmar Brunton Poll found 62% of New Zealanders and 75% of young New Zealanders want lower house prices...as TV One reported with... GOVERNMENT SHOULD ACT TO LOWER HOUSE PRICES...

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/govt-should-act-lower-house-prices-poll-5257810

New Zealanders are now acutely aware how much they are currently “getting screwed” for new housing, as these (video) examples from Houston Texas illustrate...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXnJX4HpCWo&feature=bf_next&list=UUGuN7Y79ioS4-8yS3JE1YfA

...with further examples...HOUSTON: NEW HOMES SOURCE...

http://www.newhomesource.com/communityresults/market-279

Access to the Governments late October announcements on these issues is available via ... PERFORMANCE URBAN PLANNING ...

http://www.performanceurbanplanning.org/

The trends seem clear.
ends

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