Cup and Show Week is one of the biggest tickets on the Christchurch events calendar, and it’s hoped an initiative announced by the Central City Property Owners and Business Group, Civil Defence and the Christchurch City Council, will help get the CBD up and running in time for the week long festival of fashion, races, agricultural and entertainment events.
The project, titled Re:Start 29.10.11, will combine existing retail and hospitality buildings with relocatable expo-style structures for use by retailers and hospitality owners who are not able to re-open in their existing buildings in the inner city. All going well, the project will enable the area bounded by Oxford Terrace/Hereford Street/Colombo Street/Lichfield Street to open from October 29—one week ahead of Cup and Show Week.
Bob Parker is, not surprisingly, backing the initiative, saying such ideas help prevent the city from entering a bleak future.
“It is essential we re-open on this date in preparation for New Zealand Cup and Show Week, one of our busiest and most prosperous weeks of the year, and for Christmas trade.”
Civil Defence National Controller John Hamilton says, “getting the CBD open again is a key part of the recovery plan and where possible, we will facilitate local businesses and property owners to reopen for trading.”
Chair of the Central City Property Owners and Business Group, John Suckling, says the planned working space will be centered around Ballentynes and City Mall land owned by members of the group.
“This is the first step in getting retail and hospitality operations up and running in the CBD. We hope that our initiative will encourage other retailers across the city to look at different options to restart their businesses,” he says.
Ballantynes has already made a commitment to remain in its City Mall premises, a location it has stood on for more than 150 years. Suckling says it is critical to revive business activity on the CBD, particularly the inner core of the retail and hospitality precinct.
Ballantynes managing director Mary Devine describes the project as a temporary solution to get retailers and the hospitality industry operational again. She says it does not pre-empt any big picture decisions which will guide the future redevelopment of central Christchurch.
“We hope this initiative inspires others to do the same. A healthy city is one with a strong heart.”
In preparation for Re:Start 29.10.11, the Central City Property Owners and Business Group has begun discussions with the Christchurch City Council about parking areas and the possibility of operating shuttles to bring people into the city.
Business and hospitality owners interested in the city who want to get involved in the project can contact Paul Lonsdale at firstname.lastname@example.org