The Re:START container mall brand in Christchurch will officially finish on Sunday, April 30, now that its role as a transitional space is complete, with new CBD retail spaces coming on stream.
However, in a deal brokered with the new landowners, Richard Peebles, Mike Percasky and Kris Inglis, the Re:START Heart Trust has sold the brightly coloured containers to the property investment group, which is building a Farmers Market on the block.
The Re:START name will disappear and the area will be rebranded as the Farmers Market. The new landowners will keep the containers on site until work on the permanent Farmers Market begins later this year. The current Restart container mall tenants will be given the opportunity to remain on the site under a new lease.
While several existing retailers will be shifting into permanent new CBD premises, some will remain trading on the Farmers Market site until their new stores in developments nearby are finished later this year.
John Suckling, chairman of Re:START the Heart Trust, said that the container mall had fulfilled its aim of keeping inner city retail alive and permanent new CBD spaces were now becoming available for retailers.
“The Re:START brand itself will no longer exist and the new landowners will be responsible for running the retail and hospitality operators who remain.”
Peebles said he wanted to ensure the western end of the Retail Precinct continued to thrive until they began work on the permanent Farmers Market.
“We want to keep the momentum of the vibrancy and energy the city centre is starting to build around this area. For the current tenants, it will be business as usual, but under a new lease, until we are ready to start construction on the permanent Farmers market later this year.”
Suckling said that Re:START was originally earmarked as having a retail life of six months to a year.
“Here we are six years later and the time has come to make way for the Retail Precinct, which is rapidly taking shape.
“We’re thrilled at the response to Restart from local people and the many thousands of visitors. It’s been a real focal point of the CBD for the past five and a half years. Re:START was always a transitional space. We don’t want to compete with new buildings – it was never our aim to be here long term.”
Re:START opened in October 2011, largely funded by the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust. After April 30, all funds held by Re:START the Heart Trust will be returned to the Appeal Trust so that money can be given to others needing help as a result of the earthquake.