A planning holdup is threatening to derail efforts to provide a permanent shopping precinct in the heart of Christchurch.
Developers hoped to get work under way early next year on retail developments in the central business district to replace the Re:Start container shopping mall.
But with the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) still to release its master plan for the City Mall area, those developments are on hold.
Colliers national director of property management Evan Harris said yesterday that several developers had plans "drawn up and ready to go" but could not progress with them until the CCDU had completed its master plan for the retail area as it would dictate what size and form their developments could take.
"They are waiting in the wings and are keen to get going, but until they know what the rules and regulations are, they can't go any further," he said.
Among the waiting developers is Nick Hunt, who has plans to build a $70 million complex on the site of the former Shades and Whitcoulls buildings.
Hunt had hoped to start work on the multi-use complex in January, but with no set time frame for the release of the CCDU master plan he believes it will be next April at the earliest before work can begin.
As time drags on, Hunt fears it will become harder to find tenants and that opportunities will be lost.
"I am accepting of the delay but I am concerned that if it drags on too much more, tenants who are committed to coming back into the central city will be forced to commit themselves elsewhere. Time is of the essence," he said.
When the CCDU released its blueprint for the central city in late July, it signalled that over the next 100 days it would do more planning on the development of a retail precinct based on the City Mall, but it did not set a firm deadline for the release of its master plan.