And now it’s time for our weekly update from property developers saying that things aren’t exactly rosy:
A lack of tenants to fill pricey new office buildings is a “total disaster” for the central city, a property developer says. Property developers warn buildings with “A-grade” rentals in the central business district cannot compete for tenants against cheaper, already-completed developments elsewhere. The warning comes as some developers and investors take their plans and money elsewhere in the face of high construction costs, reluctant tenants and uncertainty over car parking.
This is just the latest grumbling in the growing discontent about the (lack of) commercial development in the CBD.
Long-time Triangle Centre landlord Michael Ogilvie-Lee recently dropped his concept for a $100 million office and shopping centre between Colombo, High and Cashel streets. Others to have abandoned major plans include the McFarlane Group, which sold land between Gloucester and Armagh streets; the Goodman Group, which had approval for a $350m precinct at the Bridge of Remembrance, but did not buy the land; and Anthony Leighs, who had plans for five City Mall buildings but instead sold his land to the Government.
But it’s ok! Gerry says … relax. Apparently, a number of high-profile developers voting with their wallets and pulling hundreds of millions of dollars out of projects isn’t anything to worry about.
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee told The Press he had no concerns about the future of the CBD … “You have to be careful that the experience of one or two people doesn’t become the general view of all investors.”
If a developer who is building a top-level site, which is adjacent to the Council – and a stone’s throw from CERA, the Arts Centre and the Art Gallery – can’t find tenants, then Gerry should be worried. Instead, he’s got his head in the sand, willfully ignoring all the evidence that is dream of a castle is collapsing around him.