Sunday, April 19, 2015

Christchurch CBD A Dead Heart?

A Christchurch investor group is pulling out of the city, citing a lack of tenants for high-rise office buildings.
Cristo Ltd has abandoned plans for the BNZ site in Cathedral Square,
"A good heart these days is hard to find..."
and wants to sell.
The building's an eyesore, half-demolished for more than 2yrs while developers and businesses head west to the banks of the Avon River.
Cristo director Stephen Bell says tenants are not interested in the site, so development plans have stalled: "The high-end tenants have settled elsewhere and are not interested in coming back into the CBD. The possibility of building offices in the city centre now seems quite remote." Cristo has had similar problems at its other properties, and has sold four other vacant sites: "We've basically shifted the bulk of our investment activities to Auckland."
Cristo's in dispute with CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) over BNZ House: CERA dismantled seven storeys of the building during make-safe work in 2012, then handed it back to Cristo, despite the contract being for a complete demolition. The discovery of asbestos in the building did not help matters.
Other developers too are being forced to adapt post-earthquake to survive. The flamboyant Antony Gough is offering businesses pre-EQ rents to lure tenants to his hospitality precinct The Terrace.
Canterbury Property Investments, which bought the old Press building with plans to build a replica hotel, says the days of office towers around Cathedral Square are gone. It thinks the square better suits travellers, accommodation and hospitality.
Developer Richard Peebles feels the hold-up is lack of progress on the new convention centre and the cathedral.
It certainly looks like the CBD pattern has shifted to the west, rather than the traditional clustering around the square. Local and central government pace obviously must pick up, or Christchurch will be left with a cold and mostly dead heart...

Friday, April 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens latest promo

He may be grey, but he can still FLY!!!
Han Solo - he da MAN! - appears with longtime furry sidekick Chewbacca in a new trailer for the latest Star Wars film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Solo (appearing for the first time since the last of the first trilogy of Star Wars films, Return of the Jedi) says "Chewy, we're home", right at the end of the clip.
Other long-time Star Wars characters appearing in the trailer for Episode VII are Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill), as well as R2D2, the mangled mask of Darth Vader...and lotsa lotsa LOTSA storm troopers!
The new film is set 30 years after Return of the Jedi - in which (as you'll recall) the fallen Jedi knight Darth Vader was redeemed, the second Death Star destroyed and the Galactic Empire toppled.

Strap yourself tightly into your X-wing: Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit NZ screens 17 December 2015!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

No Go For Nasty Nippons

If Japan thinks it can waltz back into the Southern Ocean for more whaling next season, it had better think again.
It's plan to revive its Antarctic whaling has been knocked back, with independent experts finding no justification for a new hunt.
Death, by any other name...

The nasty Nippon govt submitted a plan for review by experts at International Whaling Commission (IWC), for a revamped "research" programme killing nearly 4000 whales over 12 years. But the IWC panel said Japan failed to provide enough information to determine whether killing more minke whales was necessary to meet the research objectives..."therefore, the current proposal does not demonstrate the need for lethal sampling to achieve those objectives." Nice!!!!
Japan proposed taking 330 minke whales annually in a 12yr.programme - that would mean a total kill of 3996 - on top of the nearly 10,000 already killed under its scientific permits. It's boffins set two broad objectives for the programme called NEWREP-A: obtaining more precise information on minkes should the global moratorium on commercial whaling ever be lifted; and investigating the Antarctic marine ecosystem.
The IWC experts said considerable work had been undertaken to develop NEWREP-A..."however the present proposal contains insufficient information for the panel complete a full review." It's proposed a new work programme by the Japanese (which may take several years), to provide more scientific information before a full review of the programme can be completed under IWC rules.
Quite frankly, NEWREP-A is no different to the previous Japanese hunts rejected by the international court. Japan added several non-lethal elements to make it appear less focused on lethal methods but, in terms of research effort, and expenditure, it was still same-ol'-same-ol' whale killing.
No word from the Japanese govt yet, but you can imagine they're spewing up their sushi right now...