Government land grab a worry for Christchurch landowners

Posted 31 Jul 2012 by Media3News Popular
Posted in Business , CBD , CERA/Govt , Media , CCDU , Legal
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By Hamish Clark


Christchurch property owners are keen to hear more details about the Government's plan to buy up 800 inner city properties needed for the new city blueprint.

It's all happening under the shadow of compulsory acquisition

Christchurch property owner Greg Hedges owns the Newstalk ZB building. The 14-storey high rise is about to be blown up and under the new city blueprint, be turned into a park.

“We are happy to see this plan go ahead. We are waiting for CERA to come and have a talk to us and get these transactions underway,” Mr Hedges says.

The new city centre will be condensed down to just eight blocks. Those who own land inside the CBD look to be favoured, turning the land purchase into a game of Monopoly.

But after all the quakes what is the land really worth?

Some property owners inside the red zone have already added to their land portfolios with the need for bigger footprints, given the new height restrictions.

“There have been a fair amount of private transactions occurring, and whether those sales records will form the basis of compensation packages I don't know,” property developer Ernest Duval says.

A total of 800 properties affected by the blueprint need to be purchased by the Government to make way for precincts like the performing arts centre and convention centre near the square.

“The development itself is going to be the biggest factor that affects land prices,” Mr Hedges says. “Where the developments start to go up, initially land prices in those areas will consolidate.”

But Warwick Isaacs from CERA disagrees and says that won't be the case.

“We want to establish a property-by-property transaction. Some people may expect that the first transaction will set a sort of bench mark - that won't be the case.”

Mr Duval wants everyone to be informed about what is happening.

“As a property owner I would hope that the negotiations will be transparent, equitable and fair and I have to believe that is what they will be.”

CERA is sending out letters to property owners in the next few days outlining the process.

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