A new high-powered group has approved the first major development since the release of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.
The Joint Management Board (JMB), made up of representatives from the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and Ngai Tahu, has granted Amherst Properties resource consent to build a six-storey office and retail block in Gloucester St next to the COCA Gallery.
The development is the first to be considered under regulations set out by the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) in the recovery plan approved by the Government in late July.
The JMB noted that Amherst's development would help the post-earthquake recovery by bringing workers and others back into the central city.
It is the first decision the board has made since being established by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to fast- track resource consent applications for developments within the new inner city.
JMB representatives are appointed to act as independent commissioners in accordance with the Resource Management Act.
Only one other resource consent application relating to the new central business district has been received so far. That application has still to be considered by the board.
This week, in a bid to make it as easy as possible for property owners and businesses to return to the CBD, the city council launched a one-stop advisory service called Rebuild Central.
Operating from Lichfield St, Rebuild Central is staffed by urban designers, planners, designers, resource and building consent staff and others to help businesses redevelop or relocate to the central city.
Council chief executive Tony Marryatt said the team could offer advice on design, planning and the development of precincts earmarked for the area and could assign case managers to help developers "navigate" the resource and building consent process.
Many of the team had worked on the council's draft central-city plan and had "a strong understanding of what is required to rebuild the central city and make it a vibrant, prosperous place".
Marryatt said the first step for those looking to redevelop in the city centre was to understand what was happening in that area and how they could connect with others keen to return there.
"This will ensure we have better development outcomes and we create places and spaces in line with the aspirations our community shared last year as part of the Share An Idea consultation," he said.
Rebuild Central was able to help projects and plans in Lyttelton and Sydenham as well, he said. For more information or an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.