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Shop opens to display City Mall plans

21 June 2006

City Mall shoppers and the public are invited to give their ideas for the new City Mall.

The Christchurch City Council and Isthmus Group, the company carrying out the redevelopment of the City Mall, have opened a shop in the mall where they will display plans and discuss design options with anyone who is interested.

Garth Falconer of the Isthmus Group, says, “since initial concept plans were presented to the Council last month, we have continued to explain and discuss them with the many other property owners, retailers, mall shoppers and other stakeholders who have already expressed an interest in the project. Feedback so far has been positive, but much work remains to refine proposals.

“Opening the shop will enable people to drop in and look at the plans. We hope they will tell us what they think of the different options and the various complex issues around the Mall. We have come up with some suggestions on how to increase the life and vitality of the City Mall. We now need the people who use and do business in the Mall to help test and refine those concepts,” he said.

The City Mall project shop is at 83a Cashel Street on the north side of the Mall, at the Bridge of Remembrance end.  It will be open 12noon to 2pm, Monday to Friday for the next few months.  Current City Mall plans will be up in the window for people to view when the shop is closed.

Initial concept proposals for the Mall, presented to Christchurch City councillors last month, included:

  • Re-introduction of traffic to High Street and the introduction of a slow road or tram to Cashel Street.
  • Improved pedestrian links to Cathedral Square, the Avon River, and lower High Street.
  • Reconfiguration of the bus stops along Colombo Street
  • Organising the planting of trees and removal of advertising and other visual clutter. 
  •  the development of  new anchors, or destinations to attract additional foot traffic

Garth Falconer said the western end of Cashel Street needed particular attention.

“Compared to similar shopping precincts elsewhere in the world, this is a relatively long block that needs extra attractions or features to keep shoppers and pedestrians interested.  The transit option, re-introducing slow traffic to share the street with pedestrians, is one urban design solution that has worked successfully in other cities. Another possibility, met with some enthusiasm, is a ‘garden in the city’ proposal – increasing the level of planters and greenery in this section of the street and drawing attention to Christchurch’s ‘garden city’ image.

“At present there are no ‘wrong’ ideas. We have developed some initial concepts, but all suggestions, ideas and views remain open for consideration. We have had an excellent response to the transparent and interactive process we have taken to the redevelopment of the City Mall and are delighted with the thoughtful, innovative suggestions that have come through from many different people,” he said.

The City Mall area in the redevelopment project is bounded by Lichfield, Hereford and Manchester Streets and Oxford Terrace includes some 15 bars and clubs, 25 cafes, 24 restaurants and over 40 food takeaway outlets in a total of over 450 shops and services.

More detailed design proposals from the Isthmus Group will be presented by late July.  These will combine proposals on physical improvements for the streets with a draft business management plan to co-ordinate marketing of the area on behalf of retailers and property owners.  A final draft proposal will go to council in early August and then out to public consultation in mid August.

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