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Vbase to report back on Civic Building Project

19 December 2006

**Joint press release for Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore and Bryan Pearson, Chief Executive, Vbase.

Vbase to report back on Civic Building Project in February

Vbase, which manages Christchurch City Council’s major buildings and facilities, will carry out further investigation into two options for the new Civic Building Project by February next year.

Council appointed Vbase to assume responsibility for the new Civic Building Project through its subsidiary Tuam Ltd.

Using the Council’s site selection criteria, building design brief and its resolve to keep the cost of the new building within the budgeted $100 million, Vbase will now carry out further investigations on a “Part Orion” site and also an “Avon” site. The Avon site would link the Orion site and part of the Centennial site across Armagh Street. It would also front Oxford Terrace, giving the building a river frontage. The Part Orion site would front Armagh Street

At a Council seminar today Vbase presented its findings and recommendations on the Orion site, which was identified by Councillors earlier this year as the preferred site (this site is bounded by Manchester and Armagh streets). The presentation also included details of further investigations into The Press site in Cathedral Square and the Centennial site, alongside and above the pool.

“The extensive review carried out by Vbase over the last three months identified issues around the cost, scale and commercial risk of some of the proposals for the Orion site,” said Bryan Pearson, Chief Executive of the Vbase Venue Management Group.

Mr Pearson said the February report to Council would finalise the site selection process and enable Council to make a final decision on the site.

Vbase has engaged Ben Mitchell from Pro Directions, as project manager for this phase, and architects Andrew Barclay and Bill Gregory of Warren and Mahoney to assist with and advise on the site selection.

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore said the Council was determined that the new building would be within the $100 million budget.

“We will deliver a building that represents value for public money. In no way will this Council place an expensive burden on its ratepayers,” he said.

He said he was delighted that both options to undergo further investigation were designed around the city’s primary natural asset, the Avon River.

“The Council needs to make a decision and select a site for the new building in February to avoid further costs to the ratepayer in the 2007/08 annual plan. Rates would increase by 2% next year because of money we would have to spend on the Tuam Street building,” he said. “The present building has ongoing problems of overcrowding, inadequate ventilation, poor lighting and earthquake strengthening.”

Mr Moore said the decision for a new building was not made lightly. In 2000 it decided it was a waste of ratepayers’ money to invest further in the present building.

“The new civic building will be an investment for all of Christchurch and something the residents of Christchurch can be proud of 50 years from now. The new building is part of the Council’s plan to revitalise the central city as an attractive and well designed world-class city,” he said.


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