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Friday, May 13, 2011

Chch businesses fear high-rises

Chch businesses fear high-rises

Last updated 10:49 14/05/2011
Commercial tenants forced out of Christchurch's central business district (CBD) by earthquakes want to get back within two years but do not want to be in office space higher than three levels, a survey has found.

The survey found 76 percent of central city tenants would consider returning and would want to be back within two years.

The Colliers International survey also showed an overwhelming majority did not want to go into high-rise buildings and would go no higher than three levels.

Safety was paramount among tenants when considering office space, followed by rental cost and amenities. Car parking and ``green'' considerations ranked lowest, the survey showed.

Hamish Doig, managing director of Colliers International in Christchurch, said the findings were in line with anecdotal feedback his brokers had received from tenants and matched the desire of landlords to rebuild in the CBD.

''We wanted to get an accurate picture of what was the real feeling among landlords and tenants,'' he said in a statement.

''It's vital both groups understand each other so they can work together to help rebuild Christchurch. Their collaboration is crucial to our future.''

Christchurch was unusual because most buildings in the CBD were owned by local landlords, rather than institutions.

''This means they have a very hands-on approach to what's happening.

''They have a real interest in seeing the CBD succeed.''

The survey showed only 3 percent of landlords would sell their sites, with most committed to rebuilding between one and three levels. Only 18 percent considered more than five stories. 

Doig said most tenants viewed their move to the suburbs as temporary. 

Many tenants were paying less than they were in the central city and were in far smaller premises.

When the city was rebuilt, rents were expected to rise to at least $400 a square metre because of the extra costs involved in meeting new building codes and the shortage of tradesmen, he said.

Discussions were already well advanced, particularly over sites which had been cleared in the CBD.

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