Dancing, festival as New Regent Street reopens

18 April 2013

There will be a festival atmosphere as New Regent Street reopens to the public this Saturday (20 April 2013).

Christchurch City Council is supporting the owners and tenants of New Regent Street by providing street festivities over the weekend. An exciting programme of Latin American dance, music and performance has been put together for Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, there will be a Library To Go bus and vintage car display in the area.

Mayor Bob Parker will officially reopen the street at an event attended by building owners and other invited guests starting at 7pm on Friday.

"This is a welcome milestone as we continue to reclaim the inner city," Mayor Bob Parker says.

"New Regent Street is one of the most celebrated streetscapes in our city and is widely noted for its architecture and heritage value. Its reopening will be welcomed by many, and rightly so as it begins its journey to being reinstated as a premier Christchurch destination."

The most beautiful street in New Zealand.

Mr DG Sullivan, former Mayor of Christchurch, 1 April 1932

New Regent Street is the first in the central city to have infrastructure repair work that resulted from earthquake damage fully completed.

Mayor Bob Parker will be joined in cutting the ribbon by Alex Dunlop, the oldest grandson of earthquake victim Paul Dunlop, of Paul Dunlop & Associates optometrists previously located on New Regent Street.

Paul Dunlop was part of a team of eight dismantling an organ at the Durham Street Methodist Mission Church when the earthquake hit. He was killed along with two men from the South Island Organ Company, while other workers managed to escape.

Chairman of the New Regent Street Owners' Committee David Manning will speak and assist in the reopening.

Council has funded the many aspects of landscaping and streetscape works within New Regent Street and has worked closely with owners/tenants on consenting issues and ensured the street works in Gloucester Street are completed to enhance the pedestrian experience.

New Regent Street Ambassador, Betty Hazeldine, is both humbled and delighted at the achievement.

There's palpable excitement amongst the building owners and businesses as we prepare to reopen and we're all incredibly grateful for the help and support afforded to us.

Betty Hazeldine, New Regent Street Ambassador

The businesses themselves are also actively working together as they prepare to open their doors to an enthusiastic public. Under the New Regent Street brand, with the tagline 'Indulge Yourself', the street will be marketed as a boutique shopping, entertainment and heritage destination for locals and tourists alike.

While the buildings will not be fully tenanted at this date the public will be able to enjoy the rebuilt street.

A favourite with locals and tourists alike, New Regent Street is likely to become even more popular as Christchurch's only remaining intact heritage streetscape. With its architectural features painstakingly restored, and the distinctive pastel colour scheme repainted, the street will feel both familiar and fresh to the city’s residents.

The street is significant as the only commercial street in New Zealand to have been designed as a coherent whole and is one of the best examples of Spanish Mission style architecture in New Zealand.

The street comprises 38 shops in two rows running north to south between Gloucester and Armagh Streets with a pedestrian area and tram line running through the centre. The two-storey buildings have decorative facades featuring shaped gables, medallions, tiled window hoods and barley-twist columns.

The buildings are listed as a Category 1 building with the Historic Places Trust.

New Regent Street was opened by the Mayor of Christchurch, Mr DG Sullivan on 1 April 1932, who described it as the most beautiful street in New Zealand.

Building owners, Christchurch City Council and CERA, and builders and craftsmen have collaborated to make the street's reopening a reality.

New Regent Street opens to public

  • Official invitation-only opening by Mayor Bob Parker from 7pm on Friday 19 April.
  • New Regent Street opens to the public from 9am Saturday 20 April.
  • Activities planned for the street from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, including Latin American dance, music and performance. A vintage car display and Library To Go bus will be in the area on Saturday.
  • Gloucester Street from Colombo Street to Manchester Street will be temporarily closed to vehicles for the reopening of New Regent Street on Friday 19 April 6pm-10pm, and Saturday 20 April 8am-6pm.
  • From Sunday 21 April Gloucester Street will be open to two-way traffic.

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