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Council investigates Armagh Street site

4 March 2005

The Christchurch City Council is investigating an Armagh Street site in the central city as one of three potential sites for the new Civic Building.

The Tuam Street carpark is also a possible site and Council is considering another privately owned site, the Council’s Corporate Services General Manager, Roy Baker says.

“We have begun talks with Orion over its site and have established that it meets our required parameters of being a central city location, close to the river and retail, tourist and business precincts. It has the potential we require,” Mr Baker says.

The Armagh Street site is large and therefore offers the options of further development long term.

Council staff intend to have a report to council on the preferred site and type of building by the end of April.

“We worked through a design brief with our staff last year. The building will provide conventional office space in a functional working environment for staff, members of the public and elected members,” Mr Baker says.

“We want this building to be a welcoming place for the public and an investment for all our residents. We didn’t go overboard with the new Art Gallery, yet we have built the City an asset that residents are proud of. We plan to do the same with the new Civic building.”

Costs have continued to rise since the original estimates based on costs at December 2001. Construction costs alone have risen 10 per cent in the past year.

The City Council is not releasing estimated costs of the various options until a site is selected. “We recognise the public interest in this development and we will release information as soon as possible,” Mr Baker says.

“Costs are continuing to rise, but we are very mindful of delivering a building which will not increase rates, but at the same time will be a good investment for Ratepayers,” Mr Baker says.

Upgrading the present Council offices in Tuam Street is not a feasible option. The building has problems with light, ventilation and heating. Maintenance costs in the converted department store building are high and the building’s earthquake strength is not up to the required standard.

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