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News Release

Science Alive building brings unique space back into the CBD market

JLL marketing space for lease in the former Christchurch District Court buildings



Long term investment with development potential/new-zealand/en-gb/news/916/long-term-investment-with-development-potentialAUCKLANDLong term investment with development potential
Former Fire Station on high profile corner site/new-zealand/en-gb/news/915/former-fire-station-on-high-profile-corner-siteCHRISTCHURCHFormer Fire Station on high profile corner site

With so few pre-earthquake buildings left in the CBD, the re-opening of the former District Court building will attract plenty of attention. 

The property is being marketed for lease by JLL agents Chris Harding and Anton Ritani, who say this is a unique space and great offering for businesses wanting to return to the central city.

Following the earthquake in 2011, many Christchurch businesses left the city in favour of space in suburban and fringe areas. Seven years on, many tenants are looking to return to the swelling CBD. However, with the majority of space available only in new buildings, finding the right option at the right price point can be challenging.

Approximately 1,300 buildings were demolished post-earthquake, including most of the city's secondary office space stock. Many were historic-style and today very little remains in use for office space; until now.

JLL agent Chris Harding says, "This is an amazing property, which will suit a multitude of tenants. There are so many diverse spaces here that can be utilised. The best news for those looking for central city space is that options are available from $120 - $200 per sqm, and for that money your business will be located a stone's throw from Cathedral Square and the new Christchurch Convention Centre. The lease terms are flexible and there are existing plush chattels and furnishings included in a number of areas. With spaces ranging in size from 70sqm to 2,000sqm, the property offers something for everyone."

JLL head of research Tom Barclay comments, "When you look at the hard data, there is actually very little in the way of secondary space available in the Christchurch market, in fact C & D grade space makes up only 14% of the entire CBD stock base which is currently around 342,000sqm, a much lower proportion than what you see in Auckland or Wellington. Only 2,700sqm of this secondary space was actually vacant as at our December 2017 market survey, a rate substantially lower than what we are seeing in the new build sector.

"In Auckland we've seen a surge in demand for character office space which has a bit of history and some soul to it. This demand has been driven in large part by tech, creative and start-up occupiers who are looking for affordable space on more flexible terms which allow them to grow. The former Court Building certainly ticks these boxes for Christchurch," he says.

Science Alive Centre has already secured 1,500sqm of space on the ground floor of the riverside building. The remainder of the property offers mountain, Hagley Park and river view offices, open plan ex-court rooms and even unique jail cell space in the lower levels, for new tenants.

Christchurch Central MP Duncan Webb is delighted to be the first of Science Alive's tenants in the former law courts on Durham St.
"As the MP for Christchurch Central a city location is essential. The views over the river and Victoria Park were an unexpected bonus," says Webb.
Webb's team are looking forward to the complex coming to life as Science Alive and other tenants move in, bringing visitors of all ages.
Sharing a building with Science Alive is serendipitous in many ways.
"Labour wants to refocus on science and innovation and the work that Science Alive does is critical to making young people enthusiastic about exploring science and technology.''
With such an array of space available the JLL team are expecting enquiries from an exciting range of possible tenants.

JLL agent Anton Ritani says, "The property would suit a language school and it would also make sense for a coffee shop or a food operator to locate themselves in the building, as not only will this service tenants and their clients, but also the building itself is attractive to the general public and tourism sector.

"The holding cells on the lower level of the building would make for a fantastic bar or nightclub, with some of the other space more suited to start ups given the flexible lease terms available.

"Construction is about to commence on a new entrance and internal business lobby for the building, along with display office suites," he says.

The property offers some underground car parking, however being in central Christchurch it's only a short walk to nearby parking buildings.