Rich-Lister Carter backs city plan

Posted 01 Aug 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
This item was posted on the Stuff.co.nz website - click here to view the original

 

Philip Carter
 
Philip Carter.
 
 

Christchurch's richest man is backing the central-city plan and has dropped hints about investing in the new convention centre.

The Carter Group, headed by NBR Rich Lister Philip Carter, owns the condemned former Government Life building west of Cathedral Square and at the southern end of the proposed convention centre site in the central-city recovery blueprint. The project allows for two interconnected hotels that will cater for up to 2000 delegates, and the centre will be able to host three conferences simultaneously.

Carter, who had two central-city hotels before the earthquakes, said the investment held some appeal.

"Hotels is a difficult sector but it's a sector we've had experience in and one I understand and we will look at it."

The group would consider answering the Government's call for private investment in other anchor projects, he said.

"If it stacks up commercially, we'll be looking at it. We are committed to Christchurch."

Building height in the new, compact city centre would be capped at 28 metres - about seven storeys - but Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the limit would not apply to the two convention centre hotels because of "the economics of the hotel industry".

The limit made sense, Carter said.

"Having just come back from Europe, where a lot of cities are only that height or lower, I'm supportive of that kind of height in principle, with the exception of some buildings like hotels, which may need to be taller," he said.

"It's good that they've allowed a sufficient intensity of hotels around the convention centre."

Carter was not greatly affected by other anchor projects in the blueprint. He owned just one site in the "frame" - about 500 square metres of land in Bedford Row - and some property in Colombo St opposite Victoria Square.

That land, which housed the old Vic and Whale pub, may become part of a performing arts precinct, but that depended on the undecided future of the Town Hall.

Some property developers have been critical of the land acquisition outlined in the blueprint, but Carter supported it.

"To implement the plan they need to do it on that kind of scale, so I think what it proposed is reasonable, but the devil will be in the detail."

The plan's designers should be congratulated, he said.

"When the plan becomes reality it will be great city to live in, and with an emphasis on arts, festivals and sports, we're getting the best of all worlds," he said.

Discussion