What’s New in High Street?…

Well, it has been a while since I updated you. From that, you may cheerfully gather that not much has changed in High Street.

-The Christchurch City Council has decided to build a Stadium, on a site close to us. I believe that it is going to be a “money pit” for future ratepayers. At the risk of being hung, drawn and quartered, (as many Kiwis are sports mad), I believe that the large games that they anticipate (read “All Blacks”) will no longer be a regular feature in the South Island, there is more money to be made in Auckland.

  • The CBD is very much a “work in progress”. Foot traffic is concentrated at the top end of Cashel Street, by the Riverside complex. That is the shining light of the rebuild along with Little High. (But I would say that.) By the way, Cashel Street badly need a make over, it is scruffy, dated and very tired.

Now for High Street:

The last damaged unit in the Duncans Buildings, next door at 141 High Street, (one of the last “Dirty 30’s” quake prone buildings in the city) has proceeded to demolition. The frontage will be kept. I watch with interest. I believe Resource Consent to demolish has been granted.

141 High St beginning to be demolished.

The Cotter’s Rebuild, in the middle block, is close to being finished. It looks amazing (Notice they get a nice rain garden in front. No big trees here to cover his frontage in leaves and sap.)

Cotters Building nearly finished.

Roading Changes coming: I had an email a few days ago from a building owner who had had a flyer delivered to his building site. It detailed a meeting in 3 days time, about proposed roading/layout changes in Lower High Street. Thankfully he sent me a copy which I have also forwarded it on to another property owner in the street, who also has not been informed.

What is going on with the consultations processes at the CCC? 3 of the longest standing building owners in the street with no notification of this “show and tell”? (Interesting that no list of names and emails were taken at this event.) You can not tell me that the CCC does not know who we are, (as we have been annoying them for years) and all they had to do was look at who pays the rates bill.

Is this a divide and rule process where some get notified/consulted and others do not?

The Last consultation we had with them was good. We could not reach agreement on the changes so the plan was shelved.

Now it looks like they want to ram through a one way proposal.

My immediate thoughts:

The plan is nowhere near as nice as the layout in the middle or upper blocks.  Ie Cobbled paths, rain gardens, seating, shared roadway. We get the one way “Budget version”.

I am not convinced that the heritage aspects/advantages of the Duncans Block has been considered at all in this proposal.    The plan has high messy pin oaks in front of our heritage frontage. Again…. whoops I see some accidents happening here… again. The last one planted in front of us (1998 by the way) was 18m tall, a nightmare of leaves, sap and a general pain in the neck. Luckily it did not survive the earthquake rebuild.

I feel sorry for lower High Street, it is trapped between “2 mini one way” STROADS. (Tuam St and St Asaph Street are Mini highways!) “A stroad is a type of thoroughfare that is a mix between a street and a road. The word stroad is a pejorative portmanteau of street and road, coined by American civil engineer and urban planner Charles Marohn in 2011, as a commentary about paved traffic structures in the United States.” Wikipedia

I admit to not being a fan of one ways, as historically they are bad for retail/ commercial interests. It will be I think, One way south, cycle lane north, shared roadway south, slowzone 10kmh, asphalt. Humm, why would you want one way in front of a Heritage building??

One can not help but wonder if an Experienced Urban Design Specialist has been consulted? Remind me to ask this question when I get to see the final plan.

Its all above my pay scale!

Ah we will wait and see.

Ho hum, I’m off to mow the lawns before it rains.

Lower High Street Security Fence Free for first time in 10 Years

What is new in High Street?

For the first time in 10 years the street is fencing free. A major achievement. The re opening of the old Ace Video Building is a major milestone. It allows free passage up and down the street.

Visually it is a massive improvement.

December 2021:

Cleared of fencing. Dec 2021

We still have 3 issues in the street.

No 1.

141 High Street, I believe the transfer to the new owner is soon. I really want this one sorted, it is causing us water issues.

No 2:

The vacant section at 163 High Street. Which is being used to store “Building Materials” by the owner.

No 3.

This is unfixable, unfortunately!

In about 1998 the CCC gave permission for the building of the Polytechnic Jazz school. ( In a Heritage, Retail Street, I might add) under the then Mayor, Vicki Buck. It was a daft decision and remains daft 20 something years later. It was “sold to the locals” ( who had no say in the matter I might add) with the promise of retail on the ground floor. Unsurprisingly, this has never happened.! I have always wondered how this situation was “engineered”, but I would say that.

It is a “sea of painted windows”. Not very conducive to niche retail.

We all know the “Law is an Ass”.

Moving on quickly:

In the middle block of High Street, the new tram tracks are being laid, delayed by Covid of course. The Cotters rebuild is looking amazing and progressing with great speed.

Hi Ho Hi Ho

Have a relaxing and safe Christmas.

High Street Building on the market Again….

What is New In High Street?
Well here we are, 10 years on.  Who would ever have thought that it would take this long?
141 High Street, Christchurch, has come onto the market again. (3rd owner in 3 years?)


This building is a very obvious and public failure of the actions of CERA, CCDU,  CCC,  LINZ and all the other government & council agencies involved in dealing with un-repaired earthquake damaged properties.  
What should have happened was that 141 was compulsorily acquired by the crown, when the other 8 units were sold to Mr Peebles.   
For 10 years now it has prevented us from repairing our upstairs deck area, due the collapse of their wall. This has had repercussions for rental returns and has delayed repairs and maintenance.  Given the estimated repair cost of the building, based on my experience with our units, at an estimated $1 million plus ( given it’s current condition). I suggest that 141 High Street now proceeds to demolition. (It has great potential as a climbing wall.) Anyone considering such a purchase would need to look very carefully at their costings. Otherwise this situation of multiple owners will happen over and over again.

 LINZ this is your responsibility, as it seriously impacts on the other building owners. The crown is happy enough to take down fully functioning buildings, why not this one? Perhaps it is time I talk to the lawyer about forcing demolition. I will make the call right now…

Update: Apparently LINZ is no longer responsible for this situation as of the 30th June, the Cer Act has expired. God help anyone who hopes for assistance from the CCC on this issue.

To cordon or not to cordon: The inherent complexities of post-earthquake cordoning learned from Christchurch and Wellington experiences”. March 2020

I read an interesting article the other day.  In the Bulletin of NZ society for Earthquake Engineering.  ( Not bedtime reading I confess). 

Shakti Shrestha University of Otago, Dunedin, Caroline Orchiston University of Otago, Dunedin, Kenneth Elwood University of Auckland, NZ, David Johnston Massey University, Wellington, Julia Becker Massey University, Wellington

https://bulletin.nzsee.org.nz/index.php/bnzsee/article/view/1514/1415

 It discusses the long term consequences of “Long Term Cordoning”.  

It talks about “The major damage to the central business district(CBD) resulted in the unprecedented situation of a CBD cordon being in place for more than two years.” 
Surprisingly,  (or not)  It does not discuss our situation of being cordoned off for 7 plus years.
It also discusses the “ inconsistent and inflexible arrangements for access”, the demolition of buildings without the owners permission,  the “porous cordons”.
Also that it was cost effective to leave the cordons in place.  All in all an interesting paper.

For us, the cordoning of the whole Duncan’s buildings slowed access, recovery and repairs.
“Deja vu”. Still watching this space, 10 years on….

High Streets First Heritage Blue Plaque

Well, it has been a while since I posted an update on High Street.

What’s New?

Well…. umm… not much really.

The unrepaired building at 141 High has changed hands, again, many months ago, and nothing has changed.

The Ace Video building, is slowly being repaired and rebuilt to a high standard with no corners cut. It is taking longer than hoped, probably costing heaps more than budgeted. But it is happening.

New Tenants are slowly moving into the Duncan’s Buildings.

The central city looks underdeveloped.

The number of empty sites/carparks is staggering.

-Other than that! I have a question for you.

Can anyone remember who designed the Duncan’s Building in High Street. Maybe your Granddad worked on it!

What we do know is this!

My grateful thanks to Gareth Wright, Heritage Advisor, Heritage Team CCC. for his excellent work.

“Duncan’s Building was built by the estate of one Andrew Duncan.  Duncan was a Scot who came to Wellington in 1840 and then was one of the earliest settlers in Wanganui.  In 1849 he came down to Canterbury where he opened a baker’s shop in Lyttelton.  Being one of the first here, he was in a prime position and became a major property investor in Christchurch. After the death of his wife in c1871, he moved back to Wanganui with his two sons – where he spent the remainder of his life (d1893).  In Wanganui he married again – to Elizabeth Robertson Boyd (who became Mrs E R Duncan) and had a further 3 daughters (including Isobel and Elizabeth).  Although the second family never lived in Christchurch, they continued to own and develop real estate here.  In the early 1880s they built a large building at the corner of Manchester and Cashel Sts – known for most of its history as Duncan’s Building (just to confuse things), and later as Highlight House.   After Duncan’s death, the estate was run by trustees – who included his wife.  In 1904 they had Luttrell Bros build a new building alongside Duncans Building on Manchester St.  The following year they replaced existing shops on High St with your building.  This flush of activity in 1904-1905 might have been to do with the Duncan family’s association with an energetic young lawyer called Charles Ewing (Evan) Mackay, who was probably also a trustee and who married Isobel in 1905.  Mackay served as mayor of Wanganui between 1906 and 1920, and was responsible for most of its go-aheadness at this time, including the Durie Hill elevator, trams and the Serjeant Art Gallery.  In 1920 however he was imbroiled in one of the greatest NZ scandals of the early twentieth century when he was arrested for shooting one Darcy Cresswell in his office.  Turned out the two men had been in a relationship, and Cresswell had tried to blackmail Mackay.  This all came out and Mackay went to prison and then left the country (he died in a riot in Berlin in 1929).  He was wiped from the history books in Wanganui.  Cresswell survived and later became a prominent poet.  Isobel changed her name and became Mrs Duncan rather than Mrs Mackay, but remained in Wanganui for the rest of her life.  Clearly at the end of that terrible year, the two remaining NZ-based sisters Isobel and Elizabeth (both parents and brothers were dead by this time, and the other sister was in England) decided to liquidate their Christchurch assets – possibly to help support Isobel – and everything was sold. 

The architect may not have been the Luttrells as this appears to be based on a misinterpretation of a tender notice associated with the Cashel St site.  Personally I think it was England Bros (I have a notice which suggests this), but I can’t prove it.  

So we have Luttrell Brothers or England Brothers. Any further information grateful accepted!

Following on from this I decided to Commission Christchurch’s First Heritage Blue Plaque, For our unit of the Duncans Building. At some stage we will mount it on the outside brick facade, but that will have to wait until our neighbour is repaired. We managed to unveil it on the day we went into Level 2 lock down. My grateful thanks to Dame Anna Crighton for her assistance.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/124257215/christchurchs-first-blue-plaque-recipient-revealed

Any way that was fun!

Other than that I note the increasing number of articles about the National Governments handling of the Christchurch Rebuild. None of it complimentary.

Gerard Smyth’s film: “When a City Rises” is a must watch. TVNZ has it on demand.

I was sent a link to the following editorial which has appeared in “ArchitectureNow” Magazine. It summarises the situation nicely. Well worth a read. Be very afraid New Zealand, this could happen to you. Do not put government in charge of recovery plans, they do not have the skills.

Link Here:

https://architecturenow.co.nz/articles/editorial-chris-barton-on-rebuilding-christchurch/

When a City Rises shows a government, in the form of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), both incapable and unwilling to engage effectively with a public that was ready, able and willing to be involved. Ultimately, that’s not just a failure of imagination but a failure of leadership. ” Chris Barton

ho hmmm that’s my lot for the day!

Stay safe.

High Street’s “Dirty 30”

What’s new in High Street?

Well this is going to get interesting.

The last Duncan’s Unit at 141 High Street has just changed hands, again.  I confess to a feeling of “deja vu”.  I have been fielding calls about this for weeks, mainly regarding the pediment that we removed in 2017.   The press Link here:  https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/121787071/dirty-30-heritage-building-sells-with-plans-for-immediate-restoration

I am holding my breath and hoping that  The CCC Building Consents Department sees reason and stops all ideas that this unit should have a 3rd storey added.   As this would create all sorts of issues for us.

As I have said before:

The MBIE guidelines for Industrial UNITS:
MBIE Guidance Assessment, repair and rebuild of earthquake affected industrial buildings in Canterbury
DATE: DECEMBER 2014. VERSION: 1 INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS 1. INTRODUCTION 4. REPAIRS REPAIRS / PAGE 4.5
4.2.3 Units across multiple titles. A key consideration for buildings across multiple titles is that a building is defined by the extent of the physical structure, not by the title itself. That is, if a single structure is split into contiguous multiple titles, it must still be considered as a single integrated entity with respect to the requirements of the Building Act. Where a building has flexible diaphragms, this may only require consideration of the additional tributary width in the immediate vicinity of the boundary walls, provided that the lateral load resistance is evenly shared among the parts of the building defined by the separate titles. However, if there are rigid diaphragms or load resistance is not evenly shared, the entire building may need to be considered as one. This may require owners to cooperate fully in getting an assessment completed. Evidence of the treatment of the whole building should accompany any building consent application.In assessing repairs of buildings in such cases, consideration must be given to the impact of the repairs. Where the repair is a simple like-for-like repair that has no significant impact on the behaviour of the building in the immediate area of the repair, no further assessment is required.

For Residential Buildings: From my reading of the MBIE Guidelines, the Duncan’s Buildings “need to be considered as one building. Damage assessments and repair strategies need to consider the whole building performance as well as that of Individual units. (This applies for residential, commercial and Industrial buildings).

We watch with interest. At the moment we have 5 ? different repair strategies  for the Duncan’s Units in place.

We are hoping that finally we get some progress on the adjoining  party walls, which require repairs and strengthening on the 141 side.  As well as some make safe work being done on our upstairs deck.

Ho Humm, after 10 years I am still incredulous that this situation has been allowed to drag on.

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2011 wall overhanging our back deck.

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10 years later!

Hi Ho, I look forward to meeting the new building owner and working to resolve some of these thorny issues.

PS Check out the paint job on the Bronze Corgis.  ( I have always wondered how the visually impaired navigate around them.)

The CCC does not need extra costs of cleaning these wee fellas up.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121846512/christchurchs-bronze-corgis-vandalised-as-probable-protest

 

 

 

 

 

High Street in Lock Down…Again..

What is New in High Street?

High Street is Dead.

The Government in it’s “wisdom” decided to bring in some of the most draconian lock down rules in the world.

Could we have done better.  IMO yes.  The warning signs were obvious to those of us following overseas trends.

Did we need to destroy our Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)  to the degree that we have?  I think not.

There are many SME’s that could have continued trading, (as we did throughout 2010 – 2013 on line, in our “bubble” remotely).

This lock down has a remarkably familiar feel. I have been here before!  It reminds me very much of the Christchurch Central City lock down following the earthquakes of February 2011.  Blanket lock down, not completely thought out and extremely damaging.

My uninformed assessment is that it will take at least 2 years before tourist numbers reach pre Covid-19 levels, (again similar to the lock down period in the Christchurch CBD).

Thus the business losses will, I suspect, follow a similar cycle.

  • Businesses “struggling” pre lock down will not reopen, this also applies to those owners that are close to retirement.  Why bother starting again? This, in the CBD is going to be mainly the hospitality tenancies, of which there are a large number.
  • Those with some funds will struggle on for 2 years, perhaps in a modified format.
  • Those that are agile with some funds, who own their buildings, will likely survive.
  • 5-7 years later the tipping point is usually reached.  ( Where we got too I might add) It is just too hard mentally to bother going on and age catches up with you.

Regarding Hospitality, I have been reading an article on Dutch News: https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/04/e7-1bn-income-drop-in-food-service-sector-experts-predict-far-reaching-effects-of-1-5m-economy/

“Restaurants, cafés and hotels would lose 41.5% of their expected takings, it said. It predicted that consumers would spend €5.5bn less on food – with the Dutch steering clear of luxury products and choosing cheaper shops, and millions of high-spending tourists staying at home”.

I see a similar pattern happening here, especially in Christchurch, which has been over supplied in Hospitality, in the Central city since the earthquake rebuild.

 

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High Street this week under lock down

On A more cheerful note!

The work on “Ace Video” building at 129 High Street has been halted due to the CV-19 lock down.  This is a real shame.  This was an opportunity for the building trade to really get stuck in, all safely keeping their distance of course.

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“Ace Video” building at 129 High Street

The Watson’s Building in the middle block of High Street is looking amazing and has its first tenants.

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S. Stockmans “Watson’s” frontage is looking great

By The Way:
Did you know that my neighbours have until the 9th of July 2025 before they have to repair their building.  Go figure that one!

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2025 before Priority repairs have to be done.

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2025 before repairs have to be done!

The law is an ass, as I well know.

Ah well,  I am off for a bike ride, I will stay in my bubble of one.  Probably.  Its damn hard to do on the “Huntsbury Highway”.   It is a walking, biking, mecca for everyone in the city.

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch – Demolition beckons…

This is in my stamping ground, south of the city, so I will stick my neck out…..
An important “Dirty 30” Building in Christchurch.
The Catholic Church wants to demolish the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch 

On many levels I completely understand the frustration of the rebuild process. 

We are tired of Cathedral Debates and fundraising for Heritage buildings here in Christchurch.  It is also often easier, certainly less costly and definitely better for one’s blood pressure to demolish a damaged building. 

But on another level I wonder if they have thought this through completely.  Have they forgotten any history that they were taught, have they ever looked at the myriad of Cathedrals around the world that have been: bombed, burnt, shaken, looted, flooded… the list is endless.

The buildings that we keep are not about religion and faith,  sometimes not even about beauty.  They are about our heritage, our future and past identities.  It is also about “preserving the physical integrity of precious places for the benefit of future generations.”  https://www.economist.com/erasmus/2017/06/26/unescos-tricky-balancing-act-between-religious-and-secular-forces
New Zealand as a very young country needs to try and protect our Heritage buildings, sites, languages and special sacred places of all types.  (At the same time I accept that we need to make them safe.)
This one, although badly damaged, is a keeper if it is possible.  It does not need to be exactly the same, it can be remodeled, made smaller and repaired using a safer, modern material and in a format that will see it stand as a useful building for another 100 years.
A building must be useful and productive.
“Cathedrals are living buildings,” says Smith, the art historian. “They’re constantly undergoing cleanings, they’re constantly undergoing restorations and renovations. They’ve always been understood as needing to flex.” For Smith, deciding how to rebuild or restore medieval architecture requires a delicate balance between preserving the past and erasing it to make way for the future. But that is something architects who worked on Notre Dame de Reims have always taken into consideration.  By LorraineBoissoneaultsmithsonianmag.com 
This is difficult in many cases and takes a lot of planning and thought.
An example is:

The Debate Over Rebuilding That Ensued When a Beloved French Cathedral Was Shelled During WWI.  After the Notre-Dame de Reims sustained heavy damage, it took years for the country to decide how to repair the destruction https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/debate-over-rebuilding-ensued-when-beloved-french-cathedral-was-shelled-during-wwi-180971999/

or:
Are there any Solutions?
No easy ones unfortunately.
  • Split it off from the surrounding area and leave as it is. A tourist attraction?
  • Leave for future generations if needs be, let them make the choice?
  • Donate it to the Government?
  • Abandon it?
  • We should not behave like philistines and demolish everything, we have done enough of that already in Christchurch.  We also need to think of a new use for this building. Make it smaller more compact, change it’s layout and make it work for its keep.  Find a new use for it.
  • Where is Heritage New Zealand /Historic Places Aotearoa on this issue.                         Actually there is a deafening silence on all levels at the moment, and this is not helpful and I can not help but wonder why?
FYI.
I have spent many hours in that church freezing, not listening to long winded, out of date, sexist, male orientated ceremonies, sometimes in Latin.  Most of the time I was looking at the ceiling and walls which were beautiful even I, in my youthful boredom could see that..
ho hum,  now I had better go and do some real work….

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Photos taken by Joe Arts

High Street moving forward again…

On one of our rambles through the CBD we took the attached image (found on a column).
I think it is worth posting .
“A deeply inciteful observation on the CBD or an ironic statement, or to just make you smile?
Enjoy!”

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Lichfield Street by Riverside Market.

Re Marketing The Christchurch CBD…
As a business owner I want to go “wow” at the clever sharp marketing campaigns promoting the CBD. 
I have found the ChchNZ “Explore” and “Baby Come Back” campaigns to be severely underwhelming.

I think they missed the mark with these campaigns… The campaign is aimed at young professionals, families, and retirees, with a hoped-for spin-off of attracting more tourists. It will cost $80,000, plus the cost of licensing the song”. 

These campaigns if I recall correctly were developed in house by ChchNZ.  They should in my humble opinion stop attempting to be a creative shop and focus on building the marketing research and innovative structures to deliver the messaging .  Let us leave (and seek out) the creativity to the passionate “HOT” creatives who are now populating our CBD.  

Thankfully it seems to have died a quiet death.  Please no more like this…..  Link Here:

 

What is new in High Street?

The security fencing from 135 High Street is gone, it looks amazing.  It is the first time in 9 years that I have seen it without a fence. Scary eh!

The Christchurch City Council now needs to sort out the angle parking and start “heavy duty parking enforcement”.  Did you know that for every hour one of the retailers in the street, parks in front of their own shop, you stop approximately 8+ of your customers from parking there. Why would you?   I think we need to have a quiet word to the retailers in the street… 

 

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135 High Street is nearly finished.

Hi Ho, Christmas is next week, Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas Break. May the weather finally decide what season it is.

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Photo taken in Amsterdam a few days ago by my niece, no words needed…

High Street, a Destination and a Distinct Area within the Christchurch CDB.

Over the last 9 years I have been watching, reading, attending meetings/workshops, writing and submitting on the endless flurry of initiatives by the CCC, Development Christchurch Ltd, Regenerate, Otakaro, ChCh NZ, CCBA (Central City Business Association) as a long term small business owner in the CBD.

It has become apparent that the new Christchurch CBD is not developing as promised, if one listens to the torrents of official words and reads between the lines.
Like any business owner I have kept myself up to date on what is happening in my home patch, (the south side of the CBD).  The following are my observations based on numerous CBD rambles.

When CERA/CCDU et al made up their minds to reduce the size of the CBD, they deliberately compartmentalised it by creating barrier streets. They had this idea that we should have small precincts. We should be thankful they recognised that business areas have individual characters, even that was a miracle. The official policy, the planned shrinkage of the CBD has been devastatingly effective, with in my view negative consequences. The changes to the roading layouts, the narrowing of lanes (ie St Asaph Street), changes to the one ways , complicated berms etc that has made driving into the CBD an exercise in perseverance.
However, the earthquakes, demolitions and lack of tenants has had a far greater influence in reducing the CBD size.

I am struck by a number of issues. I am keeping my observations to the south side as that is my area of interest.

Cashel Street – It was planned to be our prime retail strip. The area is looking tired and dated. Have you seen the state of the seating and the pavers? The building owners have invested heavily in the area with the Farmers market/Food hall, being the latest development. The new Ballantyne’s development is very nearly completed.
Where is the CCC commitment to ensuring the public space reflects the investments made in what is supposed to be our premier retail strip? The area needs a make over!
(The foot Traffic in Cashel Street, it has been reported, has seen a 40% increase flowing back through the city, according to the foot traffic counters, since the opening of the Farmers Market.  (CHCH Central City Business Association).  But: What was the base number it has started off from?

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Cashel Mall is scruffy.

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Cashel Mall  seating is tired and needs a steam clean.

 

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CASHEL MALL 10am Friday

-I have also observed on a number of occasions that Cashel Street may have a number of lunch time pedestrians passing through BUT many of the retail shops had few customers. It does not look like they are as well supported as we all would have hoped and the official hype is telling us. The locals do not usually go to Cashel Street to shop.

-For the locals: There is a brand new Farmers, where we can buy homeware etc on Moorhouse Ave, where we can park for free. And the malls have any other basic amenity stores that we need.
The question in the CBD is: If we can not attract the locals in large numbers then how is it going to survive and grow? I suspect the answer is: as a Service area for business, Hotels and a small retail strip for the Tourists.

Lichfield Street/Tuam Street:  The new two street “buffer zone” separate Lower High Street and it’s surrounds from the Cashel/Colombo Streets retail shopping block.
My observation is that Lower High Street and SALT, (St Asaph, Lichfield and Tuam Streets, or a shortened version of South Alternative) needs to orientate itself as a destination area with its primary relationship being St Asaph Street and the area south to Moorhouse Ave. There is a lot of unrecognised renovation work happening in this area.   Note: it is the existing industrial buildings that are being re-purposed as an affordable alternative for the Christchurch small businesses. (The only reason this area survived post quake was that it was outside CERA’s  CBD cordon.)  It makes you wonder if  the city should have been repaired rather than hurriedly demolished.  But I would say that!

Looking at the specific Streets.

a. Lichfield Street, (the west block). The positioning of the new Justice Precinct/Police station seems flawed  On one side of the street we have a car parking building and the Justice/Police/Emergency services precinct on the other side.  Crossing the street from the Riverside market near the Car Park is to take your life in your hands, there is no safe crossing point in the middle of that block. The lay out seems to have created a service area  (Just passing through) that seems somehow unattractive. (I am not refering to the buildings but the feel of it.)

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looking west on Lichfield St on the left is the Justice Precinct.  No reason to go here!

In the Lichfield Street Bus depot block: Again on one side of the block you have a supermarket with painted in-filled windows, a car parking building and an alley way to the Crossing, on the other side a large bus depot. There is something “industrial” about walking through there. (Not helped by the two “dirty thirty” buildings, near the Manchester Street corner).  Again it has become a service street.

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Lichfield St, The  Bus depot on the right hand side.

 

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Car park on the left hand side.

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Uninviting Street frontage, Lichfield Street.

B: Tuam Street. If you walk along Tuam street, again you are struck by the positioning of the ECAN Building and the back Working entrance of the Bus depot. (As well as the lack of progress on 3 “dirty thirty’s” on the Manchester/Tuam Corners.) It is also an uninviting service street only at this stage.

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Tuam Street,  no reason to go here, just passing through! Ecan on the left, Bus Depot on right.

 

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Ecan on Lichfield Street,  Just passing through, no reason to be here.

Now let’s talk about Manchester street.
Another barrier was created between the central city and the East side. A wide boulevard (with currently large areas of green spaces). This is the area that is supposed to be the start of the central city revival with 20,000 people housed and living in the CBD. There is sluggish demand for the 3 level, small apartments and this area has not taken off.  It is a great grassed area, peppered with art works, maybe a few monuments are called for?

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Manchester St Looking North.  Nothing to see here. Just passing through.

Conclusions:
I suspect that Cashel Street and the newly created CBD will become a Tourist and Hotel area only.  Filled with cafes and Bars and souvenir shops (and too many coffee shops).

The locals will come into the CBD on occasion but really it is easier to shop on Moorhouse Avenue or any suburban mall of their choice.

Retail has become or is becoming a secondary function in the CBD. (The sharp operators are saying that online shopping is their primary role with the retail shop a secondary demonstration /promotion space.)

A barrier has been created between (lower) High Street and the Retail Strip in the CBD.  It is irreversible.

High Street is Bohemian with much more character, it is finally developing a life of its own.  It has a fast developing, quirky, innovative “left bank” feel.
This is similar to the High Street that we had, loved and now have redeveloped.
We have: Ice cream shop, second hand shop, bakeries, Bars, Restaurants, Little High, Architects, Lawyers, Hair dressers, barbers, bridal shops, clothes shops, Tattoo Studio, Vape shop,  to name just a few. Exactly the distinctive type of shops that bring the locals specifically into our patch.  All we need is more close parking opportunities.  The loss of multiple parks on St Asaph Street and surrounding streets is a deterrent to Christchurch Residents as it restricts their ability to drop by and enjoy our ever changing character.

I suspect that any general CBD marketing initiatives that the CCBA and ChristchurchNZ might come up with will not be entirely effective in our area.

We will have to develop our own distinct marketing that reflects our character, “grain” (the architects use this word) flavour and grit. The customers in the High Street/Salt district are not the same as the other “client” customers in the CBD. The marketing messaging should reflect our special bohemian vibe!

If you attempt to corral lower High Street into some artificial marketing construct the locals will shrug, carry on and mutter something like “tell him he’s dreaming”! (Respect to The Castle.)

Interesting Times!

High Street slowly Recovers….

What is new in High Street?

  • We are delighted to see the new plans by the owners of the Ace Video building in High Street. Progress was desperately needed. “Richard Newbold said they plan to repair and extend the building. In a one-year project, they will strengthen it and put in commercial space for a cafe or shops at street level, with an apartment on the first floor and another in a new top storey to be added.”  CHCH press, Liz Macdonald, Link Here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/116563410/new-owners-have-restoration-plans-for-dirty-30-building

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    Ace Video building at 129 High Street, Repairs underway now after 8 years. 

  • Matt Stockman’s new building at 135 High Street is close to being finished.  Apparently the fencing comes down within a week or two.  I am delighted.

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135 High Street nearly finished.  We are looking forward to the removal of the fencing.

  • The  8 Duncans Units (belonging to Messrs Peebles, Percasky and Inglis are slowly filling up)  (Utopia Ice, makes a wonderful chocolate and sea salt ice cream by the way, well worth a visit).

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    Repaired Duncans frontage looking better!

  • Further down the street the “Watsons” frontage and new building is very close to being finished.  The final fit out is under way,  the fencing is already reduced. It is looking superb.

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“Watson’s”.  Frontage restored by Shaun Stockman, with a 3rd floor and new building on the left.

  • I see that “we” are going to spend millions on another lane way.  It is the treatment of the lane ways that I have a problem with.  The design is an issue, they have multiple hard surfaces and are looking grey, cold, in shadow and unappealing, they help reinforce the Christchurch cold sou’wester winter wind.  (Traditional lane ways had texture, with bricks and the use of different surfaces and design.)  Incidentally the lane ways have never been explained to us, as to what their use will be, are they solely for cafes and bars? or are they mixed use? or retail?  who knows?.  What are we doing with them? many of the lane ways have not really taken off yet.    Link here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/117596415/end-in-sight-for-longrunning-christchurch-laneway-holdup. “An Ōtākaro spokesman said the budget of the lane way off High St could not be determined until its exact location was confirmed.” Ha ha read millions….
  • I see that we have an article about the Salt district winning an award. The Salt district (named for St Asaph, Lichfield and Tuam, the streets in the area) won best major place project at the Asia Pacific Place Leaders awards in Canberra, Australia.  “A group of local property investors and staff from Crown rebuild company Ōtākaro and city council promotions and economic development agency ChristchurchNZ are behind the idea.” CHCH Press https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/117836285/salt-district-wins-international-award“Salt district wins international award”,

I am reserving my judgement on this one. As an area it IS Gritty, but only a wee bit.

Maybe Little Salt to match Little High.

Hi ho Christmas is around the corner!