Plans are afoot to entrench Christchurch’s pop up container Re:Start mall in its CBD location because of its functionality, low leasing cost, cool vibe, and prevalent belief that Christchurch can accommodate many diverse retail formats.
This has been facilitated by property developer Antony Gough’s offering of 1000sqm of land to accommodate the mall in his new central city development, The Terrace, for the next decade and onwards.
As a result of City Mall needing repair work after the earthquake in 2011, the temporary mall was constructed out of colourful shipping containers. Parts of it were shifted last year on Crown-owned land to cater for permanent rebuilding work.
These plans have elicited disapproval from interested parties that fear increased competition for mall tenants.
Gough has moved to reassure tenants that Re:Start does not pose a threat to conventional malls as a container mall is geared toward tenants who are looking for low rents and a relaxed vibe after the upheavals Christchurch has experienced.
In comparison, Gough says new shops in conventional malls will be tailor made and will air conditioning and double glazing insulation.
Nick Hunt, Lichfield Holdings developer, is against retaining Re:Start as he says it was intended as a temporary solution and interferes with his plans for BNZ Centre, a $140 million office and retail complex. Developments anticipated to be completed next year include The Crossing, the justice and emergency services precinct, and The Terrace.
Gough says he will consider buying the containers contingent on the cost, but no conclusion has come to this offer from Re:Start the Heart Trust. Chairman, John Suckling, says Re:Start’s priority is to keep the container mall going until new permanent retail premises are available for tenants, and given the trust is a charity, it would be inappropriate to give the containers to one or any developer.
The trust will consider an auction or tender process for the disbursement of the containers, but will prohibit the Re:Start name being sold or passed on.