Christchurch Catholic diocese buys central city properties

christchurch catholic diocese

The Christchurch Catholic diocese has spent more than $15 million on several blocks of riverside Christchurch land.

The purchases are likely to be the first stakes in a larger site for a complex which may include a new cathedral.

Property and company records reveal the Catholic diocese has bought 10 vacant properties in the central city block bordered by Armagh and Manchester streets and Oxford Tce.

At 4340 square metres or nearly half a hectare, the church’s new sites occupy more than a third of the vacant city block extending from Manchester to Colombo streets and adjoining the city’s new Avon River promenade.

Eight of the properties are opposite New Regent St and another two on the corner of Colombo St and Oxford Tce.

The eight adjoining sites were sold to the church for $11m by Christchurch investor Ben Gough’s company Tailorspace.

Sites, opposite Victoria Square and the Christchurch Town Hall, remain in the hands of Victoria Apartments Ltd.

The rest of the land on the block comprises several sites owned by the Carter Group.

This includes the derelict former PWC and the former Copthorne hotel site facing Victoria Square owned by Millennium and Copthorne Hotels.

A spokesman for the diocese confirmed the purchases but said any more information would come from the bishop when he was ready to make a statement.

The diocese announced in August it would demolish its earthquake-damaged Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, once considered by some to be New Zealand’s finest building, and rebuild on a more central site.

When the decision to pull down the existing Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament was announced last month it triggered a vow by heritage enthusiasts to fight to save the building.

Christchurch Heritage Trust chair Dr Anna Crighton called it “the best and the most significant cathedral in the southern hemisphere”.


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