How many Bars and Cafes do we need?

How many bars and cafes does the Christchurch CBD need?  The short answer is not as many as it has.

I see that Liz McDonald from The Press has written a few articles and begun to discuss the issue.  The experienced operators in the city have been discussing this issue for 3-4 years.  I was advised years ago, not be in too much of a hurry to take a bar or cafe as a tenant in our building.  Many of them are in serious trouble…  Lack of foot traffic, lack of parking, lack of night life in the CBD, lack of residents…. the list is endless.

One has to wonder why the CCC is continuing to issue Liquor licences to all these bars and cafes? ….

I can find no answers or comments from CCC, Otakaro or Regenerate CHCH about this issue.  Surely they are not blind???  humm I may be wrong about that. This is an issue that has been brewing (whoops sorry) for 4-5 years….

I have some simple questions. How long is this situation going to last?, when will some life come back to the CBD?, what is the CCC et al doing to help and encourage other retailers?  (Personal experience would tell me that the answer to this question is “zero”, zlich, nada”.

Links here…http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/88396293/does-christchurch-have-too-many-bars-and-restaurants

Followed by:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/88246094/Christchurch-nightlife-is-the-party-over

Followed by, surprise, surprise…

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/88494124/canterbury-rebuild-plateau-knocks-business-confidence-to-fouryear-low

Every one knows that:

  • the tourists are by passing Christchurch, ask any Taxi Driver he/she will tell you..
  • the new roading layouts are impossible- Tuam Street, St AsaphStreet, Madras Streets are a poorly designed mess….the lack of parking is legendary,  the carriage ways are too narrow, the parking limited, the concrete berms are obtrusive and over all the design is c…..(as is the lack of policing for the parking that we do have).   This issue is not going to go away soon, there is a bubbling undercurrent of discontent amoungst the remaining retailers in St Asaph Street, It needs to be addressed urgently by the powers that be, they need to admit that the new roading layout has some major flaws.  And was impossed upon us with no consultation !  As usual.
  • The CBD empties out at 5.00pm  and is deserted after hours.
  • The much touted residential development promised by the “powers that be” looks like they will be overpriced dog boxes… and not come to fruition for years.

Ho Hummm another warm day in a totally dysfunctional CBD.

 

PS Bruce has a very interesting comment to make about the reason for so many bars and cafes in the CBD.  I have added it here as it is pertinent.

“The bars returned largely because the former CBD is the ONLY place they can get extended trading hours (beyond 1am) with any future certainty. They had no choice, even though many could see that they were moving back into a wasteland, and were reluctant to do so, but they had to make a living.
It’s the one particular business that did NOT move back that is interesting; the brothels. Like the bar-owners, they could see that the CBD was to be avoided, but they had a choice. Deregulation of their industry had allowed their patrons and workplaces to disperse into the suburbs, and that is where they went and where they have stayed. To the best of my knowledge not a single brothel has moved back into the CBD”.

How not to repair a Heritage Street in the Christchurch CBD

So whats new in High Street?

Ah, so the news breaks finally.   The plans for Lower High Street.  Good now I can talk about it.   Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/80580175/big-plans-to-rescue-christchurchs-lower-high-st

This is the most positive news that I have heard for 5.5 years, this looks like progress.

The question I have to ask is:  you will notice deep in the press article that it says,  “Otakaro, the Crown-owned company overseeing the innovation precinct, declined to comment on its plans for the 111-year-old Duncan’s buildings, for which it paid $1.8m”.

My understanding of the situation is that the land will be transferred to LINZ (Land Information New Zealand).  Normally it would go too tender, (if I am correct)  but under these circumstances you would think that they would just get on with it.

Really? Have they not made a decision yet?  Just exactly how long do they need to conclude that the longer they wait:

  • the more likely it is that the frontage of the middle units will collapse
  • the more likely it is that some one will further damage/vandalise it.

This could be the most interesting area in the city if they just got on with it.  Ho Hum same old indecision by Government. They really should not be put in charge of recoveries.

I had hoped that the new agency “Otakaro” would be capable of making a decision.  Silly old me!

Late last night I received this email about the South Frame:

Dear stakeholder
 
Please find attached a work notice about City Care JFC’s upcoming work to construct part of the South Frame for Ōtākaro. Work starts on Tuesday 7 June 2016.
 
The South Frame is one of several anchor projects currently underway to create a central Christchurch that is well-formed, and that attracts people to live, work, play, learn, stay and invest.
 
If you have any questions about our work, please call us on 0800 632 889 or email us at civil@citycare.co.nz.
 
Kind regards
 
The City Care JFC communication team

160603 South Frame EPIC Block1
I notice that they started clearing the area for the new lane way a few days ago.    Are they going to seal and pave this area before the demolition off sections of the building?  Cart before the horse?

Anyway on another subject.   I tried to talk to the CCC about the 2 badly damaged buildings on either side of us. It was an attempt to get them to force the building owners on either side of us to act.  (demolish in one case, and make safe in the other).  Both of them are hindering the reopening of our frontage.   Well….. I think it will be like watching the grass grow,  do not hold your breath.  One would have hoped that in 5.5 years some attempt would have been made to force the building owners that have run away to act.  Nope! This is a major flaw in the Recovery Act.

Following last weeks debacle with the closing off of our section of the street, a compromise has been reached and our access continues un hindered.  Its road cone heaven but that normal now in Christchurch. he he!

Any way, the sun is shining, my house is back at consents for an amended building consent, as well as being repriced.  I will have the pleasure of seeing a new contract at the end of June??

Can’t be all bad.

How not to repair a heritage building in the Christchurch CBD…

CERA is gone,  ye ha, some progress at last after 5.5 years.  Or is it???  We now have a myriad of quasi government organisations taking over CERA’s functions.  One hopes that they will do a better job than CERA, but that may well be a vain hope.

We now have the: Christchurch City Council/Regenerate Christchurch/Otakaro Ltd/ Land Information New Zealand(LINZ)  all having their fingers in the pie.  I watch with interest to see if they can unravel the tangled mess.  I note that most of the CERA staff have been transferred to these new departments so I assume that it is business as usual. An inability to make sound commercial decisions and more “pie in the sky”, grandiose plans.  Ho hum who cares. Who knows who is in charge of this lot now?  It’s like a black hole of government departments.

The central city is still a mess.  Although I have seen some signs of improvement. The problem is that few of us go into the city anymore.  And I live here.  If I have to walk across town I by-pass the central city.

So What is new in High Street?

1.The McKenzie and Willis site, being developed by Richard Peebles, is making great progress. Ye ha.  The scaffolding came down briefly the other day so here is a brief view of it “scaffold less”.  ( Is that a word?)  http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/79148528/historic-mckenzie-and-willis-facade-revealed–but-not-for-longP1010003.JPG

McKenzie and Willis Facade.  Looking good!

 

P1000971.JPG

Progress is rapidly occurring at the rear as well.

2. The Excelsior site has now been demolished. It does look better.   Link here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/78749969/heritage-facade-on-old-excelsior-hotel-in-christchurch-demolished

3. I see Johnny Moore at Brick Farm is having trouble with rabbits.  Now that is funny, Sorry Johnny. Add rabbit pie to the menu?  I also have possums, pigeons, cats, rats and 2 legged human weasels at my end of the street. Link Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/79634466/johnny-moore-rabbiting-on-with-visions-of-extermination

2.  There is the odd “rumour” about the fate of the Duncan’s Buildings.  All I can say is it sounds promising.  If only one can get the government to make a decision!  yeah right! Useless lot that they are.

3.  No propping of the Duncan’s Facade has occurred under either the  CCC/CERA/Regenerate Christchurch, leadership in 5.5 years.  It is desperately needed.  No sign of even an attempt to “Make safe”.  Days from notification to CCC off structural failure so far at: The CCC compliance team was notified on the 16 March 2016.  The count so far:  62 days…… please explain?????

Incidentally some one asked me the other day who our Case Manager/Block liaison person at CERA/Regenerate Christchurch is?  The second part of the question was when had I last had a conversation with them.  After a long silence I had to admit too: No idea and have not got a clue!

4. The Valentines Day quake was a beauty and caused some cracking in our (half off) pediment, way up on the top of the facade.  The Engineer’s conclusion was that it was terminal.  Thus we have had to re-scaffold and demolish it.   Bugger!P1010002.JPG

Pediment is cracked and generally munted.

P1010025.jpg

It would be helpful if the neighbour Jon Webb was not basking in the sun in Vietnam.  Sigh. I can not rebuild it as I only own half of it.  So I have had to come up with a temporary solution.

P1010058.JPGWe have redone the brick work and created a couple of pods.

It’s a pity that no one will take an interest in what is happening to the street.  As usual all the powers that be are conspicuous by their absence.  For heavens sake, the powers that be can not even get the wreck that sits beside us demolished.  How useless is that!

 

IMGP4245

Spink’s derelict building still not demolished 5.5 years later.

ho hum another day. Better head off to my new day job.

PS. My house is just headed back to amended building consent. ye ha.  I reckon I might be in it in 12 months.  No hurry of course its only been 5.5 years.

 

How not to repair a Heritage Street In the Christchurch CBD

Oh the irony. How delicious….

On one hand we have the very public spectacle of a building owner in New Regent Street facing public condemnation from the other building owners about her reticence to repair her units in the New Regent Street and the pain that this is causing the other retail and hospitality businesses. Links Here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/77313150/editorial-new-regent-st-standoff-completely-unacceptable

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/77753704/in-search-of-helen-thacker

Apparently the pressure applied upon this women has now borne fruit and she is in the process of making her building in New Regent Street safe.

And Now, we have lower High Street. The Street totally abandoned by a multitude of building owners, CERA, CCC and Heritage advocates alike.  It really is time now for some one to take an interest in what is happening here,  having me being a lone voice in the wilderness is pretty pointless.

CERA is the major building owner of 7 units in the street.  The other building owners (Webb, Lovell-Smith, Spinks, Rose, Rama) are conspicuous by their absence.

The properties that CERA owns will soon to be transferred to Otakaro Ltd. One of the myriad of organisations that will replace CERA in Mid April.  A crown owned entity.  (Same old s….. just another new re-branded crown entity).

Peter Townsend and Miriam Dean to join Crown company board”Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the newly named Otakaro Limited would continue to “build on what we are achieving” when it took over from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority later this year.  link here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/76988371/Peter-Townsend-and-Miriam-Dean-to-join-Crown-company-board

Build on what we are achieving?  yes, really?  I hope they do a better job than CERA has in High Street.  I have serious doubts that the new board members have any experience or interest in selling real Estate let alone a Heritage building in High Street. (Townsend’s performance to date is the subject of much “robust debate” amongst the building owners that I know).

CERA has owned the buildings in High Street since August and October 2013.  In that time they have: fenced off the street…… inspected the buildings,  re-inspected the buildings, re-inspected the re-inspections ….  etc  etc you get the picture.

The irony is that these buildings have not been “made safe” under their own section 38’s “make safe” orders.  The notorious section 38’s that they so blithely handed out to private building owners after the February 2011 earthquake.  Now you may ask how does this work?  It appears to be a case of “do as I say but not as I do”.  CERA has not lifted a finger since 2013 to make safe the frontages of the Duncan’s Buildings or attempted to limit further damage from the ongoing quakes.

This is part of a city-wide issue that CERA did not address in their 5 plus years in power.  Building owners abandoned their buildings, for numerous reasons – and  in the end those that stayed and tried to do the right thing have been penalised.

A word of advice to other building owners in the country.  If you ever face the situation that we have found ourselves in.  DO NOT REPAIR YOUR HERITAGE BUILDING.  Pull it down. It is not economic to wait 5 plus years for neighbouring building owners to get their act together.

And now they have a problem.  As of a few weeks ago we had another 5.7, 4.9 and 4.4  quake.  Whoop’s!  Now, the communal I beam that runs through all the units has lost one of its support pillars  –  this was predictable. The verandah is now sagging and should have been propped 5 years ago and there is now a serious risk that with another good shake the frontage of 145 will collapse taking a good proportion of the others with it.  Note: The failure of the structural support has already caused damage to our frontage. (I am about to check out consequential Liability).

The CCC compliance team was notified on the 16 March 2016.  Technically CERA the building owner, has 10 working days to make safe from this day.  Note: that is not working days, this includes weekends.  That is what they did to all the building owners in the city. (The problem is there is no one home at CERA, the staff are too busy clearing their desks…  and have been for the last 6 months).

The count so far:  18 days…… please explain?????

So what happens now?  Watch this space!  This is going to get really interesting……

 

IMG_20160316_103207941.jpg

Loss of structural support for I beam at 145 High Street.

Ho humm  … this is almost getting to be fun.

 

How not to repair a Heritage Building in the Christchuch CBD 5 years on…

So, what is new in High Street 5 years on from 22nd February 2010?

4 years progress in High St for CERA/CCDU.

5 years progress in High St for CERA/CCDU.

Not much obviously!

  • There appears to be no progress on the sale of the Duncan’s Building.  I have seen no sign of a tender document.
  • I have spoken to a number of interested buyers but it seems that CERA et al are unable to lift this issue out of the too hard basket. I have also been “told” that CERA et al will not be selling any further properties until the new “Regenerate” entity takes over.  Another delaying tactic. CERA closes down in April sometime, I can not remember if it’s the end of April or early.  The problem for CERA of course is that they paid too much for the buildings.  ( These figures are readily available).  CERA acquisitions in Lower High Street:
    145-151 High St  Oct 13  $636,000       4 units
    153 High St         Aug 13  $430,000       1 unit
    155-157 High St  Aug 13  $760,000       2 units

    Total paid $ 1,826,000
    Estimate of value now after 5 years of neglect:  Land price less demolition.  My guess is half of this price.  There is one insurance settlement to be collected on one unit, but after 3 years that will have devalued by approx 30%.

    So, there are a number of issues here.
    CERA/CCDU probably does no want to show a loss on the sale of these buildings on their books.   (Bad look for the Government)   They also appear incapable of sucking it up and doing a deal with a developer, along the lines of “you do the work and once they are tenanted you will pay xyz….”.  ie Stagger the payments. This would be normal practice in the commercial world.  They basically appear to be incapable of Making a decision.  Governments should not be in the business of real estate.

    c’est la vie…..

  • I see in the Press today, in a very good summary of the rebuild  “Have the anchor projects anchored Christchurch’s central city?”  by GEORGINA STYLIANOU, that 2 more properties belonging to the Christchurch Heritage Trust are under contract.  That will be the Billen’s site in the lower block and the Excelsior Hotel site on the corner of High Street & Manchester Street.  Good news for the street. Link here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/76090113/have-the-anchor-projects-anchored-christchurchs-central-city
    Billens site.

    Billens site on the left.

    January 2016.  Just the frontage is left.  It is to be demolished and rebuilt as a "look alike".

    Excelisor Hotel. January 2016. Just the frontage is left. It is to be demolished and rebuilt as a “look alike”.

  • Security is still an ongoing issue in the street.  The police arrested 2 young men breaking into a neighbouring unit last week.
    We, again, had to board up the frontage. (The land owner has been conspicuous by her absence for the last 5 years).  A name and shame list is needed in the city, either front up or get out.
  • The wee shake last week was an unpleasant reminder, that it’s not over till it’s over.  30 more years some cheerful soul told me a few days ago.  It has interrupted our works programme as we had to rake and plaster some gib, that had just been under-coated in preparation for final painting.  Next time we will batten the gib,  I see no point in endless plastering/repainting.  Seems to me that Gib is not the product to use in Christchurch, I am going to start investigating alternatives.
  • Work has restarted on the fit out off 2 of the Duncan’s Units at the other end of our row.  Great to see.
  • The work on the McKenzie and Willis site is racing ahead.  I think its due to be completed in September.
  • Both the Vodafone and Katmandu buildings are close to being finished, I have not seen a recent ETA on these.
  • Otherwise all is quiet and boring.  We can see no point at his stage in attempting to open our retail area.  That would be retail suicide.

ho humm,  5 years on not much has changed.  Talk about depressing.  Retirement is looming I feel it in my bones.  I think I will move out of the city.  Some where, where there are no quakes, floods, fires, plagues of locusts/rats, government agencies, CERA/CCDU/REGENERATE/CCC/SOUTHERN RESPONSE etc….  and so the list goes on.

How not to repair a Heritage building in the Christchurch CBD Part 173

Well here we are, 5 years on since the February 2011 earthquake that decimated Christchurch.  On Monday there will be tears shed, politicians will say soothing words and the verbosity will flow.  (I notice this morning that we have lots of feel good articles in the Press about how well we are all doing and what great achievements have been made, how the city is moving forward and we are nearly half way there.  Wherever there is???? I will talk about High Street in a later post).

All very nice and good.  But behind the scenes there is another story.  The one that no one likes to talk about. This is about those of us still stuck in Insurance hell.

Tomorrow at 12 noon in the Christchurch Square a protest is occurring.  I will be there.

10400452_10204402822505480_7860771413264718807_n-1

So whats this about???  This is the back story about those of us stuck in “insurance limbo land”.  Some say that its all our own fault that we are in this situation,  ie we have not accepted insurance company offers, we are greedy, we think that our houses were worth more etc.  In most cases this is not true.  It is due to the stalling tactics being practiced by the insurance companies, it is about poor repair strategies being imposed on home owners by insurance companies, it is about poor workmanship by contractors, it is about multiple assessments by untrained assessors. The list of variables is endless.

It’s About Deny Delay Defend.  The tactic being used by the Insurance companies to stall payments as long as they can, a book by Jay M. Feinman describes the practice in all its glory.    http://www.delaydenydefend.com/book/

There have been many articles written about this policy and I will not bore you with the details.  Goggle is your friend here.

So if you can, come and protest with us, because next time this may be you struggling to get a house after 5 years of waiting. 

P1000769

5 years of progress by Southern Response, Benchmark and Arrow.

For me it is about finding out that the consented plans supplied by the building company for my new house actually do not comply with the building code.  There are multiple errors in the design: Errors in wind loading, water issues, foundation issues all leading to a redesign being needed.  There appears to have been a deliberate “fudging” of the consent by the designers. Strange “omissions” of detail.   It is with some surprise that I note that these issues were not picked up by the CCC Building Consents Department.  ( Those of you who know my history with Building consents will laugh).

Like Johnny Moore, I am having trouble “Getting over it”   If I hear that phrase once again this weekend I will have a full out whinge.

“Wouldn’t that be nice to just get on with it? There’s nothing I’d like more. Sadly, for plenty of people they’re finding it had to move forward when they’re still waist-deep in the quagmire that is the Rebuild”.   Nice comment Johnny.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/77035088/johnny-moore-stop-telling-cantabrians-to-get-over-it

Ho Humm, tomorrow will be fun.  Kiwis need to protest more, the French have this well sorted out.  Bring on the tractors and loads of manure.

 

 

How not to repair a Heritage building in the Christchurch CBD

Now for something completely different.

I have a new neighbour in the street. Spot the furry little critter in the photo below.  Seen on the old Excelsior Hotel site on the corner of High Street & Manchester Street. This neighbour is giving me considerably less trouble than the constant stream of 2 legged vermin that are breaching the red zone fencing and breaking in to the Duncans Units.  Also it give me a lot less trouble than the political Bunnies we have at CERA/CCDU.

The hotel was built in 1881. According to Wikipedia.

I also found in my files a old 1984 photo, the colour is a bit faded.  This is Christchurch at 2.00pm on a busy afternoon in 1984. Those were the days.

excelsor 1984

1984 photo

360px-Excelsior_Hotel,_Christchurch-1

From wikipedia. Feb 2011

Todays view is not so pretty. Except for our furry friend.

IMG_20160128_090352450_HDR

January 2016. Just the frontage is left. It is to be demolished and rebuilt as a “look alike”.

 

While I was searching the photo file  I found this beauty..

It was on the corner of High Street and Tuam Street.  Thank heavens it was demolished in the 1990’s otherwise it was a disaster in waiting. (If you look at the ground floor you will see that all the structural supports seem to be gone, i.e. large areas of windows with nothing holding it up).  We always knew it as Dunfords Building, but that is not its correct name??.   Mr Dunford had his screen printing business on the top floor.  It was a rabbit warren, full of broken floor boards, leaking pipes and general decay.  The last shop on the bottom floor was a cycle shop. City Cycles.   They had a basement that periodically filled up with water.

 

cnr high:tuam

I am not sure of the origin of this photo. Taken in the late 1980’s-1990’s? Corner of High and Tuam Street.

 

Ho Humm its Friday.  Time to email Southern Response again and see what sort of progress has been made on my house rebuild.  ha ha.