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Ideas flowing for City Mall redevelopment

2 May 2006

Creating spaces for special events, re-introducing traffic and screening out the easterly have all been suggested to improve the City Mall, says the company that has the contract to oversee its development.

Locally-based Isthmus Group is carrying out the redevelopment of the City Mall for Christchurch City Council. Project leader Garth Falconer says that consultation with a broad range of groups over the past few weeks has uncovered some clear themes.  The designers will be taking these themes on board as they prepare options for the City Mall over the next few weeks.

“We have met with retailers, property owners, residents, shoppers, councillors, students from the two schools in the area and others who work, do business or live in and around City Mall. All are keen to retain the area’s status as both a premier public space and a key retail and business precinct. While there is agreement on what we need to achieve, there is a diversity of views on how to achieve it.

“We have heard a number of really innovative suggestions, from playing off Christchurch’s garden city image by doing a whole lot more planting, to removing clutter so that the City Mall’s historic buildings will be more of a feature. Some people would like us to go back to before the area became a pedestrian precinct, while others are keen to see even greater pedestrian facilities in the mall. There are also important issues about lighting, parking and links to other parts of the central city to take into account.

“It is important to remember that at the present stage of the project, there are no ‘wrong’ ideas – all suggestions, ideas and views are up for consideration. The project team is working hard to include all stakeholders in a process that will identify some exciting solutions.

“We expect to have some indicative options for the redevelopment of the City Mall by the end of May. These will develop some of the ideas that have been discussed so people can consider these in more detail and respond to them,” he said.

Covering an expanded section of the south west of central Christchurch around the City Mall, the redevelopment project area is bounded by Lichfield, Oxford, Hereford and Manchester Streets, including some 400 shops and retail businesses.

Design proposals will be presented for public feedback by late July 2006. As well as considering physical improvements for the streets, these proposals will include a draft business management plan, outlining how businesses can work together to coordinate retailers on the future development of the area.

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