A new Hotel Precinct next to Te Pae, announced on Saturday as part of the 'North of Square' development, is set to broaden the appeal of the new convention centre.
The half-billion-dollar North of the Square project – announced jointly by the Catholic diocese of Christchurch, property developer the Carter Group and Crown rebuild company Ōtākaro – will develop sites between Cathedral Square and the River Avon.
The development will include up to four hotels being built between Cathedral Square and the $475 million new Te Pae convention centre, while on land bordered by Colombo, Armagh and Manchester streets a new Catholic cathedral, school, church accommodation and offices plus a 600-space parking building will go up.
A 5-star hotel on-site or nearby is a prerequisite for attracting many major international events. We have signed a development agreement with Carter Group for up to four hotels on the site.
The whole plan has taken over a year to put together behind the scenes, involving several landowners as well as the church and Crown.
It solves several issues for the city at once: how to build several hotels quickly to service Te Pae and minimise disruption to its convention business, how to best use a prime riverside site when the central city's retail and office hubs have shifted elsewhere, where to rebuild a wrecked cathedral and associated facilities, and how to provide parking handy to Te Pae and the performing arts precinct.
Ōtākaro chief executive John Bridgman described the development as exciting and an "inter-generational change for Christchurch", which would encourage further investment in that part of the central city.
The Carter Group already has hotel interests, having owned Holiday Inns in Christchurch and Melbourne, as well as its industrial and retail investments such as The Crossing shopping centre.
They will build two hotels initially at Te Pae – one a five-star – to be finished by April 2023, followed by one or two more hotels near Cathedral Square.
The five-star hotel will sit on Colombo St opposite the end of Gloucester St, the central library Tūranga and Cathedral Square, with the others stretching back towards the river frontage.
Between them a public walkway will link Cathedral Square to the riverfront.