Cera shows its hand – first compulsory acquisitions

The first steps in the compulsory acquisition of Christchurch inner city properties has started. 

The estimated cost to New Zealand taxpayers of acquiring 761 properties has never been disclosed, but it could cost up to $1 billion.

The government’s agency, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and its Central Christchurch Development Unit, and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee have rejected Official Information Act requests from NBR NZPI for information.

They cite commercial confidentiality and that the information will become public knowledge soon anyway.

A public notice of intention was published last week, with the first 150 properties designated for compulsory acquisition.

Sixtyseven are for a “green frame” to the north of the central business district and part of the east frame.

The properties are on Oxford and Cambridge Tces, and Chester, Armagh, Gloucester and Manchester Sts.

Cera’s plan requires many of the intact buildings on these sites to be demolished to make way for green space and other projects.

Another 37 properties on Colombo, Lichfield, Tuam Sts and Struthers Lane have also been designated to make way for a new bus exchange.

Meanwhile, NBR Rich Lister Anthony Gough is the first major inner city landowner to cut a deal with Cera.

The three properties are the Craigs House and Lucks Building sites, which will form part of the new Convention Centre Precinct, and the Poplars Apartments site, which will be part of the new East Frame.

Purchase prices will be publicly available when final settlement of the transactions has been completed, Mr Brownlee says.

The Crown has agreement in principle with the owners of another 15 properties “and is at an advanced stage of negotiation on a further 50.”

“Negotiations are under way on 116 properties in total, which shows CCDU is making real progress toward achieving the vision laid out in the Blueprint Plan – a plan the public have very positively embraced,” Mr Brownlee claims in a prepared statement.

Payment for the properties was based on “negotiations”.

Cera has obtained its own valuations, which it will not share with property owners. Property owners are expected to obtain their own valuations.

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