Derelict Buildings in the Christchurch CBD & the Minister for Building & Construction.

Well that was a bit of a joke.   An answer from The Minister for Building and Construction, Dr Nick Smith.  He tells me: “I am unable to get involved in individual disputes”…. “talk to the Christchurch City Council…”  or ” seek legal advice”.

Just how out of touch with reality is he? I can name, right now, 6 buildings within  200 metres of us that are derelict and have neighbours desperately trying to get resolution.

This government has been asleep at the wheel for 6 years over these issues.

  •  Incidentally, It is not a dispute. It takes 2 to have a dispute!
  • I have talked to the CCC. Ad Infinitum …. still dead useless…
  • We are now in discussions with LINZ (Land Information New Zealand). They are in charge of the Section 77’s, which to be honest are not worth the paper that they are written on. (These are a renamed section 38 make safe orders).
  • Lawyers?    Does he have a spare $1000 or $5000?  Haven’t the lawyers in Christchurch made enough out of earthquake misery yet? (Mostly as a result of this government not protecting the people and not forcing the insurance industry to settle within a reasonable time period).

Unless the Government develops some gonads, this issue is going to be a re-occurring theme throughout the country. Does the Minister really think that this is not going to be an issue in Wellington?  He’s dreaming. (Not unusual for this particular Minister I might add. He has become known as the minister that reduced the water quality of our rivers by revising the standards.  Down, down, down). http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/89767723/NZ-reputation-hurt-by-declining-water-quality-tourism-industry-says

This issue is going to have a massive impact on surrounding building owners nationwide.  Being surrounded by derelict and abandoned building is going to be the NORM!  Look at some of the small towns in the south island, Timaru, Ashburton, Waimate, Oamaru,  Greymouth, the list is endless,  all of them have un-reinforced  masonry buildings that are now semi abandoned, too expensive to repair, too expensive to pull down as well as being uninsured.

minister resp.jpg

ho hum, another day in a dysfunctional city.  It certainly is interesting!  I’m off to do some real work, paint the factory wall.

PS I hear that LINZ  are going to demolish one of our neighbours further down the street, this is happening as a result of the meeting between a building owner and Minister Brownlee last week.   Hum…  it appears that the Old boys network is alive and well in Christchurch…  At least it will create a precedent!

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Whoops, it needs to come down now so that the neighbours can open.

Inaccessible City- The CHCH CBD

As a follow on from my last post in January. I note that I have not had a response from the Building Minister, Nick Smith, regarding the implementation of stronger legislation in Christchurch, or even an attempt to force recalcitrant building owners to clean up their derelict buildings.

I notice the Press did an article a few days ago with a list of the 10 worst Buildings. “They ask if six years is long enough”?   I think any resident of Christchurch will give you a resounding Yes to that question!   Frustrating….

Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/89590828/eyesore-sites-still-blot-christchurch-cbd-landscape-six-years-after-the-earthquake

The problem is that NO ONE is doing anything about the situation. Some “backside covering” going on here I think, at a very high level I suspect.

Christchurch City Council is ineffective as I suspect is the new organisation,
Development Christchurch Limited (DCL).  (A division of the CCC with no funding).
and Land Information New Zealand -LINZ is invisible.  They are responsible for the “make safes” section 38 now renamed 77’s!  Confusing!
I see that the Duncan’s Buildings  are on this list of the “infamous”. No surprises here,  (I notice that Phillip Carters old WINZ building in High St is not on the list). There are many others who deserve to be on this list as well.

ho hum SNAFU

I had a wry grin on my face today when I saw this.

The Inaccessible City, By Mike Yardly. He has said exactly what a fellow retailer in St Asaph St and I, told some CCC Councillors about 3 weeks ago.
I hope he has more success in getting through to them than we did. He says it so beautifully!

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/89827400/mike-yardley-christchurch-street-changes-making-city-inaccessible-not-accessible

CCC and Otakaro have redesigned the CBD roading network, it is a debacle, the roads are too narrow,  have large concrete kerbs, multiple levels, are visually unappealing, it is impossible to access the few parks we have left and we have almost no loading zones.  I am aware of a number of retailers who are starting to look for new premises outside this area.  The CBD has become totally inaccessible now.

As Mike Yardly points out: “The pencil-thin lanes are utterly unforgiving with no breathing space or margin for error. Buses, trucks and wide-boy SUVs can barely fit within them. If they have to turn a corner, they duly encroach the neighbouring lane in order to carry out the manoeuvre. Daft and dangerous.

Of the few remaining on-street car parks, their configuration is so tight that motorists have no choice but to bring traffic to a stand-still while they painstakingly negotiate themselves into the slot.”

Nice One!

What’s New In High Street?

Our new toilet block is slowly starting to take shape. We give our grateful thanks to Andrew Evans at Intrados Architecture for helping us to negotiate the Design and Consents issues.

The slab gets poured on Friday this week.P1010343.jpg

Below:

The Peebles Group has dumped the steel for the propping of the facades of their 8 Duncan’s Units in the street, unfortunately it is not going to do much good there, it needs to go in.

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Have a great day, stay out of the CBD, you can not get there anyway, the roads are blocked, there are limited parks  and you will break your neck tripping on the road cones!

 

 

Christchurch rebuilding- St Asaph Street Roadworks…

I have been watching the new road works proceeding in St Asaph Street with some horror.  Not only is the new High Street entry from Madras Street damn dangerous (you have a constant stream of one way traffic behind you as you try to turn into the entry).  The St Asaph Street layout is a predictable debacle.  The road way has been narrowed significantly.  Now when you park (If you can find a park that is) you open your car door directly into the car lanes.  The width of the footpaths and the width of the bike lanes have made the road impossibly narrow.  Two buses can not manoeuver side by side.  I will not even discuss the loss of 200 odd parks.  Link to Press article here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/86977882/mass-road-works-drive-away-christchurch-businesses-customers

Apparently, according to my sources there was a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce a few days ago, where Peter Townsend facilitated  the meeting of mainly CBD business and
building owners, 3 Council Officials gave a presentation on the Accessible City program.

The Q & A session was “very vocal” and it was extended…..

(Peter Townsend was “terse” at the level of concern at the situation in St Asaph Street.  Massive loss of parking, narrow and dangerous road way, endless unfinished road works, total lack of concern for remaining retailers etc ).

Some of the issues raised in the Q & A afterwards:
30km Speed Limit,
CBD Traffic Management,
Parking (especially the removal of parking spaces),
concerns were expressed on the safety and practicality of the new redesigned pavement-cycle lane-parking-road streetscape,
ongoing roadworks
and the effects of these changes on local businesses.

St Asaph St was cited as an example by a number of attendees which backs
up my hunch this is an ongoing problem for this area.

Peter Townsend announced that a follow-up meeting will be held.  Looks like the Chamber of Commerce has deemed the issues raised to be significant and it will become engaged …

Thanks to my source! I am too unimportant to get an invite to such a meeting! Which is a bit weird really as I am directly affected by these road works, it has cost us dearly, as it has delayed our opening for the Christmas trade, as a pop up shop.  Reminder to self,  Repeat after me: “They do not care, we are collateral damage”.

2.12.16 The Press has now caught up with me, Link Here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/87079377/tensions-run-high-as-anger-over-central-christchurch-roading-nears-boiling-point

So… the constant closing and narrowing of roads in the CBD  has now hit a new level of dysfunctionality.

As far as I can work out the road layout was designed by the CERA/CCDU dictators,  when they had one of their “brain waves” some years ago.  The consultation was an absolute sham.  It will take a brave City Council Mayor to resolve the ongoing issues that have been foisted upon the city by the Government.

The late Architect, Ian Athfield was correct in saying that the one streets should have been removed from the central city.  They are a failed 1960’s experiment.

ho humn, I am going to take the day off!  As a busy retailer in the CBD I may as well.

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At the moment this St Asaph/High/Madras/Ferry road Intersection has 10 white poles, (purpose unknown) and 18 traffic light poles.  Is this necessary?  really? Visual overload!

 

2.12.16 Late breaking news.  Article just proves that the council is toothless and totally dysfunctional. I bet that if the High Block was in Cashel Mall they would find a way of acting in a more proactive manner.    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/87089167/calls-for-faster-action-on-quakeprone-buildings

How not to rebuild a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD….. apply for Building Consent/Resource Consent…

Hell’s teeth, there must be a better way of finishing this damn building.  My advice to any Heritage Building owner in the country is:  Don’t even consider repairing your building. Certainly not under the conditions of an emergency repair like we have had to face.  The bureaucracy is endless and getting more expensive by the minute. It is not worth it.  Either pull it down or walk away. (There do not appear to be any penalties for walking away, as has been clearly shown in Christchurch).

We are finally on the last leg of a very slow and long process.  The rebuild of a toilet block. 18sq metres.  Last week I applied for an Amended Building Consent to demolish/rebuild our very old not too flash “lean-to” toilet block.

It is a 1930’s – 1940’s classic New Zealand lean-to.  (Think third world). We suspect it was built by the apprentices of the Butcher who previously owned the building (Franklin).

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Off to one side of this very attractive structure is a very old toilet.  I will not embarrass ourselves by showing you the photo.

Anyway,  not only do you have to apply for an amended building consent to build a new toilet block, you get to be really lucky if you own a “rare” Heritage Building in Christchurch, (and I can safely say that, as CERA pulled them all down, there are not many left)   you also have to apply for a Resource Consent.  (To prove that you are not destroying precious history.   She says with a smirk on her face).

So……

I have just been issued with a Section 37.  Well,  I suppose that is a change from the Section 38 that CERA gave us in 2011.  ( A section 38 is “Make safe” issued by the Government).

When I had finished laughing about the Section 37, I see that it is a DO NOT Demolish or proceed with any building work.   The irony, with the Section 37, is that it comes with an expensive price tag of a minimum of $1200 for a non notified resource consent and up to $7500 for a notified consent. I have yet to figure out which one the powers that be will charge me.  Note:  received a preliminary Invoice today 25/8/16 of $2500 (5% of the total build cost of this toilet block)  This is as close to extortion as you can get.  Note to self:  I should not have propped it up and I should have demolished it earlier like every other building owner in the city did.

Section 37: Chapter 9 Natural and Cultural Heritage: 9.3 Historic Heritage: Rule – 9.3.3.2.3 Restricted Discretionary Activities – Heritage Items and Heritage Settings – High Significance (Group 1) and Significant (Group 2)
The proposed works for the demolition and construction of an addition are within the heritage setting for the Duncan Buildings a listed significant Building (Group 2) and these works will require consideration as a discretionary activity.

So which one do I obey? The original Section 38 to make the area safe or the new Section 37 to NOT make the area safe.  Hope someone makes up their mind soon before the structure falls down.  In fact, if I undo that prop on the back wall I won’t have a problem will I ??   tempting..   One more shake should do it for me…..

The sad thing about all this is that they are chucking all the hurdles they can in our way, while the rest of the absentee owners surrounding us have walked away and abandoned their properties.  In 6 years neither CERA/CCDU/Otakaro/CCC  have made any attempts to deal with this issue.

The Law really is an ass.

Crazy city, totally messed up.

p.s. have a look at this video clip about:

Christchurch Dilemmas: How to rebuild the city’s heart video

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/83394208/christchurch-dilemmas-how-to-rebuild-the-citys-heart

I was at a meeting where James Lunday spoke in 2011,  he basically said then that they were stuffing the city up by pulling everything down. How right he was. He also told CERA to naff off in no uncertain terms. (sanitized version)  (It was a pleasure to watch then and still brings a grin to my face now 6 years later).

“Urban designer James Lunday visited the red-zoned central city immediately after the earthquakes in 2011 and has been returning to Christchurch in the years since. He sees the rebuild as a huge opportunity for the city.”

He also comments that “We’re still building a 20th century city – built for the car, wide streets, and no activity.” 

He is so right!

PPS:  It is flaming near impossible to get into High Street at the moment, it is a shame that we were hoping to open up our pop up shop in the first week of september.  FultonHogan/CCC are yet to give me an expected finish date.  Do not hold your breath…..

 

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Note: The reappearance of the historic tram tracks.  Do you reckon they got a Resource Consent to take them out????  I doubt it.

 

 

 

 

 

How not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchurch CBD, High Street Saga gets ugly…

My Gosh the saga continues, now the truth starts to come out.

I had prepared a blog weeks ago regarding this issue, which I have just had to trash as this latest Press article is a beauty.  I had been told many months ago that some Christchurch developers had been trying to delay development in this area, but the truth was even nastier than I thought.

It is a shame that I had to read about it in the Press.  The lack of communication with Otakaro Ltd on an issue that definitely effects our lively hood is slightly disturbing. A continuation of the status quo I am afraid.

I take my hat off to the Press and Nick Truebridge for pulling the OIA documents, which I need to work through carefully.  I will let you know if I find anything interesting.

I have always strongly suspected that the Duncan’s Buildings sale for redevelopment was deliberately stalled by CERA/CCDU  and I may never get an answer to this unsubstantiated accusation.  It may have been bureaucratic inefficiency  who knows, without pulling further documents it may remain forever murky.

The Press article points out that the delays were certainly not minimised by a group of self-serving, wealthy, Christchurch business owners. (With rather obvious links to the CCDU’s Warrick Issacs).

I think this group of leading “High-profile Christchurch developers” should hang your heads in shame.

A number of building owners in the Duncan’s Block, who have been attempting to do the right thing, await a public apology from you all… I have just seen hell freeze over.

Not only did you attempt to further stall development and recovery for the city  (and a number of small building owners, who you obviously don’t give a toss about) you have embarrassed yourselves publicly.

The Hall of shame awaits you.images.jpg

Documents released under the Official Information Act show developers Philip Carter and Antony Gough were among those who wrote to Crown company Otakaro urging it not to sell the High St Duncan’s buildings directly to Richard Peebles and his associates.

Also involved was: “Guthrey suggested a five year moratorium should be placed on the property sold that it not be developed for retail” and the “National Party board member Roger Bridge, also involved in the legal action, wrote to the Crown expressing interest in buying the land, but said he had no prior knowledge of Peebles’ interest.”

5 years ?  gosh we have already waited 6 years and you wanted to stall us another 5 years?  nasty…

I also notice that there was a letter from “Ballantynes” that has been withheld from the OIA documents, 10 June 2016.

Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/82968307/highprofile-christchurch-developers-spoke-out-against-sale-of-crowns-high-st-property-to-rival

Interestingly there was no mention of this issue in the OIA documents I received regarding the Duncan’s Buildings a number of weeks ago.  Obviously the wrong questions were asked.

I congratulate Otakaro Ltd,  Albert Brantley CEO on his decision to allow the sale of the Duncan’s Buildings to proceed.  It is a pragmatic decision, that takes into account the needs of the entire city, it considers Heritage aspects and regeneration of this area.  (As well as a few small building owners in this area who have stuck their necks way too far out).    Thank You.

Oh well, what a beautiful cold Christchurch day.  I hope this group of men choke on their coffees this morning as they read the Press.

P.S.  11.8.16  It looks like peace is about to break out: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/83064472/developers-close-to-resolution-over-high-st-legal-challenge

I note that Christchurch Heritage Trust chairwoman  Anna Crighton made a pertinent remark in The Star 11/8/16:  “Those buildings, apart from the few that are privately owned, have been languishing there since the earthquakes and nobody bothered about them until Richard Peebles picked them up and decided to do something about them. Now all of a sudden other people want to buy them as well.  Well everybody had a good chance many years ago”.      A very relevant comment.

I look forward to seeing the street restored to its former, bohemian, Left-bank glory!

Incidentally here are a few of the latest High Street links:  Now a tad redundant!

NICK TRUEBRIDGE,  July 5 2016,  in the Business day section of the Press.  http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81764209/high-st-master-plan-fuels-dispute-between-christchurch-developers

This was closely followed by an opinion piece by Tom Hooper on the 8th July in the Business day section of the Press. He comments that the last thing our city needs is legal challenges that hold up progress..  Link here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81892716/tom-hooper-we-need-to-be-fighting-for-the-city-not-fighting-over-it

Closely followed By

 

 

How NOT to rebuild Christchurch

Jeepers, oh what fun…  I am glad that I have existing user rights for my repaired building. It looks like the “big boys from Cashel Street” are all throwing their toys out of the cot… and attempting to mire real progress in this area down in legal challenges.

They appear to have forgotten a number of very simple points:

  • The “Innovation precinct” moniker was an “after thought” throw away line thought up by some so-called “clever planner” at the last-minute of the design stage by the CCDU planners.
  • This block was always expected to have retail in it. It is “Mixed use”.
  • It is a block with a significant Heritage Building in it.  If they had bothered to ask me I could have told them that it was unlikely to be coming down and that it always was going to be small retail /office tenants.
  • This is a PR disaster for the CCCL.  Have they not figured this out yet???
  • Most of us cannot afford to rent in Cashel mall and DO NOT WANT TO.

Interesting is it not.

Here is an editorial published on Monday.   Link Here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/81413662/editorial-chch-developers-are-doing-the-right-thing-by-challenging-retail-project

humm no comment.

Followed up by this in the Press:http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81494726/mckenzie-and-willis-developer-richard-peebles-questions-timing-of-legal-action

“Peebles said 181 High Ltd’s consent was for 2200 square metres of retail and seven boutique retail shops would be created, not 55”.   (I can not come to 55 shops no matter how many times I count it up).

Followed up by Radio NZ:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/307421/chch-developers-in-fight-over-resource-consent

  “ …  Antony Gough, the spokesman for developers taking court action, said investors in the Retail Precinct had lost tenants to Mr Peebles and other smaller owners on High Street. …”

Now we have incoming support for our new precinct: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81543849/fellow-christchurch-developer-comes-into-bat-for-50-million-development

Good comment by Shaun Stockman regarding the nature of the development.  “The people that will rent in lower High St are not the people who will be in The Crossing,” Stockman said.

Followed up by Johnny Moore’s comment column.

“Johnny Moore: High St stoush is ‘closed-shop behaviour'”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/81600021/johnny-moore-high-st-stoush-is-closedshop-behaviour

Nice one Johnny, my sentiments exactly.  “Reinforcing stereotypes that Christchurch is an Old Boys Club where old families and old money control things, CCCL is made up of the Christchurch elite”.

I also resent my rates money being used to fight this legal stoush. 

Also, I might add, A director of CCCL is Warrick Issacs,  the ex director of the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU).  how can this be?

ho humm.   Another day in a very weird city.

Apologies for the caution shown in these last few posts.  I may end up in court as well as I am in the Innovation Precinct and I am in retail as well. lol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How not to repair a Heritage Precinct in the Christchurch CBD

I had heard whispers that this was happening.  A very interesting article by NICK TRUEBRIDGE    23.6.16

“Christchurch development figures start new company, launch High Court proceedings”

Christchurch at its worst.  A group of wealthy businessmen trying to stop retail development in an area that they do not own.  Are they so afraid that this may be competition?  Do they not have the best interests of the city at heart?   Why do we have to resolve this in court?  This should have been sorted out before hand by arbitration/mediation.  Do we not believe in the open market economy and competition?

“A group of Christchurch’s most powerful development figures have joined forces to mount a legal challenge against the city council and the company behind the $50 million McKenzie and Willis redevelopment.

City Centre Christchurch Limited (CCCL) was incorporated on June 8 and filed High Court proceedings to seek a judicial review against the council and 181 High Limited two days later. 

A who’s who of Christchurch property developers and businessmen are connected to the new company, including, among others, Antony Gough, Tim Carter and Roger Bridge as directors, and Warwick Isaacs, Philip Carter and Michael Ogilvie-Lee as shareholders”.

Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81378413/christchurch-development-figures-start-new-company-launch-high-court-proceedings

and Now here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/81412297/developers-legal-challenge-symptom-of-available-city-space-expert-says

The real danger is that the public might conclude that they do not want competition to their retail developments in the Cashel Street area.  The public may well ask the question as too why these guys are worried that the smaller Peebles development will take tenants from the larger central city development..  “Gough said CCCL sought a review of resource consents granted for areas that were not intended to be used for retail, but which had been approved for it”.

Everyone in the city knows that the original plan designed by the CCDU, under Warrick Issacs leadership I might add,  for the so-called “Innovation Precinct” was flawed.  At every meeting I ever had with the CCDU, no one could actually tell me what an “Innovation Precinct” was.  I still do not know.

What these gentlemen seem to have forgotten is that it not in the BEST INTERESTS of the city to stop rebuilding and mire redevelopment in legal action.  What about arbitration?  “Asked who came up with the idea for the company, Gough said it was a mutual choice and the company was made up of people “passionate about the centre city”.  yeah right…. There should be some way of dealing with these issues out of court.

Pull your heads in, this looks “anti” any other development but your own.

ps: Richard Peebles’ development is coming together quickly, heaps better than what we had before.  It was retail before the quakes I might add.

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the old McKenzie and Willis building.

Below is a photo of the new lane way behind us, starting to be formed.

 

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The new lane way is starting to appear.

grirr-  could make one very grumpy to see the “well-connected land owners” fight competition and try to stall development in other areas.

pps. Our scaffolding is down and the frontage is looking great.

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ppps: Is this the outcome that these business owners  really want.  After 6 years????

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6 years progress in High St.