Exciting times in Christchurch as people bump into Catholicism


Christchurch city centre’s new Catholic precinct will be a place people can bump into Catholicism says Christchurch diocese general manager Simon Thompson.

Rising from the ruins of the devastating 2011 earthquakes, plans for the exciting development include a brand new Catholic cathedral, a commercial building, a 600-space car park, diocese offices, apartments and commercial space.

“It is very exciting. It will be a fantastic addition to the city.”

Thompson says the new precinct will open up the Avon River to the city and provide north-facing hospitality and retail.

“We will have tourists who will want to walk up there and extend New Regent Street.”

“This is the vision, and then we will look at how we make it work,” he says.

Thompson says the project budget and completion dates still need to be determined and will depend on how the project is funded.

Last May, however, Christchurch Diocese Administrator and Co-adjutor Archbishop of Wellington, Paul Martin predicted the precinct would take five years and might cost $100 million.

That amount included $40m for the cathedral.

As far as raising the money to pay for the project is concerned, Thompson says any and all options are being considered.

One option involves the diocese selling parts of the precinct as bare land, or developing and then selling them.

Another option could see the diocese divesting land or buildings.

While plans are being made, there is still much to be done before the first sod is turned.

One of the first tasks is to obtain resource consent, which will be sought in two stages.

At present, the diocese is seeking consent for the car park, diocese offices and priests’ accommodation buildings.

Assuming consent is given, Thompson says work on this part of the project will begin next year. It will take about two years to complete.

Thompson says the second phase of the project will see the cathedral and the fourth building constructed.

Plans for the cathedral and a fourth building are not yet publicly available.

They will be submitted for resource consent separately, in about two months.

Last May, Christchurch firm Warren and Mahoney and American firm Franck & Lohsen were announced as the architects.

Franck & Lohsen, which will lead the design work, specialises in Catholic architecture.


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News category: New Zealand.

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