The Crossing – new heart for CBD
Central Christchurch has a new heart, with The Crossing now open and providing a positively refreshing retail experience.
Locals and visitors to the city are enjoying The Crossing’s enticing mix of laneways, walkways and bridges and discovering what’s on offer from eye-catching artwork and design to premium brand stores, chic boutiques and café stops.
The Crossing, a $140 million project, is the largest central city development since the Canterbury earthquakes and covers 44,000sqm over multi-levels between Cashel Mall and Colombo, Lichfield and High streets.
A small team at the Carter Group has led this development over the past six years, namely the group’s managing director Philip Carter, his son Andrew Carter (development manager), daughter Nicki Carter (managing leases and commercial property issues) and Sharon Blackburn (valuation and property management).
“It’s not just about the team here though,” says Philip Carter, who is justifiably proud of what has been achieved at The Crossing. “I think we had 50 consultants working on it.
Southbase would have had hundreds of people working there. “All the tenants also had to do their bit. So it has been an absolute team wide effort.
“We didn’t drive this from a budget point of view either. We wanted the architecture to be interesting, grounding, permanent and full of discovery.”
Southbase Construction was appointed as the contractor for the project and commenced work in mid-2015.
Today, more than two years’ later, Southbase project manager Jeremy Earle rates The Crossing as one of the most rewarding and complex construction projects the company has ever undertaken in Christchurch.
“Our challenge was to construct four separate buildings in three separate stages and bring it all together at the same time.
“At the height of construction, there would have been 300 people working on site.”
With the development block also bounded by a pedestrian mall on one side, by main arterial roads on two sides and with adjacent buildings that needed to remain open and functional, the project work had to managed carefully and with due consideration of neighbours and the public.
“Communication was a top priority for us, especially when we were starting the main pile driving work; we let everyone know what to expect,” Jeremy says.
Even before building could start, the old bus exchange and car park building had to be deconstructed.
“In itself this was a tricky job, given the location to heritage buildings and with cars and pedestrians passing by.
A detailed and sequenced plan was followed to remove the four-level reinforced concrete building. Along the way, temporary engineering works were required to prevent the risk of any partial collapse.
“We crushed up the old carpark building in the end and used some of it as backfilling material for the new car park building. So we were able to recycle some of the old into the new.”
Construction across the site was broken down into several stages, each with its own team, but taking place simultaneously.
Stage A included the new eight-storey carpark building, along with retail areas including the 1250sqm ground floor supermarket (FreshChoice) and the terrace walkway.
“As we were building the supermarket, we had to change our methodology to allow for details such as concrete polished floors; the supermarket also needed an extension for back of house.
“We had to be as responsive as possible at every stage in order to meet the requirements of tenants coming in. Even in the later stages, for example, we had to add a new lift and a new escalator that were not in the original plans.”
Another challenging stage of the construction – Stage B – involved carrying out the partial demolition of an existing heritage building, with propping and bracing required to protect the 1935 façade facing onto Colombo Street.
Beautiful heritage ceiling roses were saved and restored, with replications also made to enhance old ceilings.
The building on the Colombo St/Cashel Mall corner now incorporates “a huge amount” of strengthening, with old steel replaced with new BRB structural bracing.
Southbase also led the construction of two new commercial buildings (Stage C), one of which houses Swedish fashion and home décor retailer H&M.
The other is the spectacular circular twostorey building dubbed The Bubble, clad with a screen of aluminium rings.
“A lot of work went into engineering that. Finalising the geometry and making it work with the facade system was quite a challenge.”
With The Crossing now open, all that remains is a little fine tuning with Southbase maintaining a presence on site as it completes final areas of work.
“This has been a real team effort. Everyone is so impressed with what has been achieved. “We are all very proud to have completed such a large and complex project. It puts us on the map.”
Southbase Construction has been a major contributor to the Christchurch rebuild with a myriad of large-scale projects undertaken and completed including the Christchurch Bus Exchange, Hagley Oval and Deloitte House showcasing their innovative thinking, seismic knowledge and determination to deliver.