Property dispute resolved for Christchurch’s NZ$473m stadium

A legal dispute surrounding the development of Canterbury Multi-Use Arena (CMUA) in Christchurch has been resolved after the Crown reached an agreement to acquire the final property needed for the project to proceed.

The Crown has reached agreement with the owners, Roland Logan and Sharon Ng, to buy the 212–214 Madras Street property (pictured). Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has led negotiations on behalf of the Crown. It has been engaging with the owners to seek to acquire the building by mutual agreement since inheriting responsibility for central city land acquisitions for anchor projects in 2016.

The agreement reached is a full and final settlement of all claims in relation to the property, meaning a related court case is now closed. Earlier this year, LINZ carried out significant survey works on land within the CMUA footprint, including stopping roads and amalgamating property titles.

The building in question has been the subject of legal proceedings since April, when the Crown attempted to seize the property under powers granted through Christchurch’s rebuild blueprint that was released in mid-2012 following the devastating earthquake that hit the city in February 2011.

Logan and Ng have been seeking to save the building, filing an injunction to stop its purchase by the Crown. A court hearing ordered the building to remain under their ownership until a further legal case could be heard. This had been scheduled for August, but the latest announcement means it won’t take place.

Group manager for Crown Property, Lydia Bloy, said the decision provides certainty around progress of the CMUA project. She continued: “The arena is one of four key anchor projects in the 2012 Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and is expected to have a range of economic, social and cultural benefits for greater Christchurch’s regeneration.

“It was good to continue our discussions with all the key parties – the owners, CMUA Project Delivery Limited and Christchurch City Council – to agree a positive outcome for the building and the city. We’re pleased the people of Christchurch now have certainty around progress of this city asset that will provide so many great opportunities for Christchurch and Canterbury.”

The agreement with Logan and Ng includes the NG building being moved to another location that is south of the Transitional Cathedral and on the CMUA site. Logan and Ng are responsible for moving the building and they have one year to complete the move.

Commenting on the agreement, Logan told Stuff.co.nz: “I’m not running around celebrating, that’s for sure. I’ve got a big project ahead of us for the next year. But I am relieved that we’re not fighting about it any more … I think that it’s great that we’ve all moved on. I’ll celebrate the day the building settles down on its new foundations.”

In March, Christchurch City Council announced that the Kōtui consortium of businesses had been selected to design and construct the new 25,000-seat stadium. The consortium is led by Australia-based stadium construction specialist BESIX Watpac and also includes Christchurch-based Southbase Construction and Fulton Hogan, local seismic engineering specialist Lewis Bradford, Christchurch architects Warren and Mahoney, and global stadium design experts Populous and Mott MacDonald.

The announcement came after a funding agreement for the NZ$473m (£238.4m/€277.6m/$330.2m) venue was signed in October last year. The Council’s manager for capital delivery of major facilities, Alistair Pearson, told Stuff that moving the NG building would not affect the timeframe for construction of the stadium.

Work is expected to commence around April 2022, with Bloy adding: “Leaving the NG building where it is wasn’t an option because we were advised it would have greatly impeded the design and functionality of the arena.”

Image: Christchurch City Council