Christchurch is a city of ribbon-cutting, as New Zealand’s oldest city becomes its newest, five years into a NZD40 billion regeneration programme.
Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau (CCCB) manager Caroline Blanchfield says new venues, shops, restaurants, restored heritage and generous green spaces are opening every month to reveal a fascinating 21st century city.
“We are unveiling an impressive new built environment around our river, parks and gardens, drawing on the city’s rich cultural and natural heritage and designed with people at its heart,” she says.
Openings in the last six months include The Terraces waterfront promenade, the heritage neo-Gothic Arts Centre restoration, The Piano – Centre for Music and Arts, the $26 million Christchurch Adventure Park, and Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct. Major banks and many government departments have all moved back into the city centre bringing thousands of their staff to smart new offices. International retail giants are moving into Christchurch too, creating sophisticated shopping along the Cashel Mall pedestrian area, with plenty of excellent laneway dining and cafes. This year and next will see completion of major new retail, office, health and hotel and apartment complexes, bringing a real buzz to the central city.
“The focus is on pedestrian-friendly shopping, dining, arts and entertainment. Our famous Garden City charm has expanded to include new green spaces framing the CBD, with the Ōtākaro/Avon River precinct as the city’s centrepiece,” she says.
In the heart of the CBD on this prime riverfront site, Christchurch’s convention centre will be a world-class boutique facility of major architectural significance for 200 to 2000 delegates, planned for completion in late 2019.
The Christchurch Centre is surrounded by green spaces, parks, gardens and the flowing Avon/Otakaro river. Stories of the local Maori people are being interwoven through every aspect of the design.
“With an unrivalled location in the central city, the entire precinct has been carefully designed with the needs of service providers, organisers and delegates in mind.”
By the time the convention centre opens, the city will boast 2,500 new hotel rooms all within easy walking distance. New hotels to open this year include the 204-room Crowne Plaza Christchurch just opposite the convention centre, and Novotel Christchurch Airport. In coming years, Christchurch will also see a new Holiday Inn Express, plus the new 200-room Peterborough hotel, and a Sudima Christchurch city hotel.