$400m business park planned

Click to enlarge. An artist's impression and aerial view of part of the Waterloo Business Park...
Click to enlarge. An artist's impression and aerial view of part of the Waterloo Business Park planned for Hornby, in Christchurch. Image supplied.
Southland businessmen Ian Tulloch and Paul Johnstone announced yesterday plans to build an up-to-$400 million light-industrial and manufacturing business park in Christchurch.

The pair are in a joint venture with John Sax, of Auckland-based Southpark Corporation Ltd, and expect $30 million of initial infrastructure work on the Waterloo Business Park will be started this month, followed by up to four stages developed over a period of years.

The site, which rivals Auckland's Highbrook business park in size, could eventually accommodate more than 100 businesses and up to 5000 workers.

Mr Tulloch said the Christchurch market presented "immense opportunities" for developers and investors, estimating total construction costs at up to $400 million.

"I believe that developers are really looking anew at Christchurch, which will go through the most incredible growth over the next decade. The attention is certainly on opportunities in the city," he said in a statement yesterday.

The project was scheduled to be formally launched last night by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Mr Johnstone said when contacted it was probably one of the largest projects of its type in New Zealand since the global financial crisis.

Details of the financing arrangements were still being completed. Waterloo had domestic backing, as opposed to any of the major Australian or New Zealand banks, he said.

While not offering a finance division to would-be developers, Mr Johnstone said a range of options were available, from design and build to bare-land sales, speculative purchasing, lease-to-buy or leasing.

Bordered by Pound Rd and Waterloo Rd, Mr Tulloch said Hornby was a growing distribution hub with easy access to major road networks north and south, the port in Lyttelton and airport, and had potential for access to an adjacent railway line.

While targeting warehousing, logistics, light industry and manufacturing, the business park is to be fully landscaped, have a central hub and plaza, including feature fountains, boulevard-style roads, attractive outdoor areas and amenities such as cafes, a gym and cycle and running tracks.

"Businesses are crying out for quality industrial space and Hornby has always been at the forefront of preferred options for firms," Mr Tulloch said.

"Obviously, since the earthquakes the demand has soared, especially as some other industrial areas are deemed undesirable for reinvestment."

The Hornby site is zoned TC1 land which offered benefits for foundation construction. It had solid ground nearer the surface, and was further west of the "quake-damaged central business district".

Mr Tulloch said the park would be "markedly different" from parks which were "arid and grey", with master planning emphasis on aesthetics, including water features, green park-like courtyards and paved boulevards.



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