Balance of Crown Land

‘Seller with a purpose’

Ōtākaro is responsible for divesting land, acquired by the Crown under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 for the construction of Anchor Projects, that is no longer required.

In some cases, due to how the land was previously owned or how the Anchor Projects have taken shape, the parcels that have been acquired are larger than what is needed.

Ōtākaro's role is to divest this land in a manner that balances good commercial outcomes with the Crown’s regeneration objectives.

“We are effectively a seller with a purpose,” says Keith Beal, General Manager Strategy and Property Opportunities. “It’s not simply about getting the highest possible price for the land we are divesting. It’s also about getting great outcomes for Christchurch.

“The sale of land for the EntX entertainment complex and the Riverside Market are good examples of that,” says Keith.

“There was keen interest in both blocks of land. A cinema and eatery complex, across the road from the Bus Interchange, with two adjacent carpark buildings, on the corner of the Retail Precinct was always going to be good for central Christchurch, as was a large market, right in the heart of the CBD across the Promenade from the Ōtākaro/Avon River.”

In this section we explain the Ōtākaro Land Divestment Criteria, we list the sites divested to-date and the relevant regeneration objectives, and we note the land currently available.


Land Divestment Criteria

The Ōtākaro Land Divestment Strategy aims to achieve these outcomes:

  • Development that encourages increased activation (numbers of people) through the type of activity, extended hours of operation and activation;
  • Stimulation of investment and further development by the private sector;
  • Alignment with the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan objectives;
  • Compliance with the Ōtākaro Expectations Schedule requirements for all divestments, which includes provisions on health and safety, and support for accessibility.

‘Land banking’ will not be facilitated.

The timeframes, requirements and method of divestment will vary for each site.

If you are interested in acquiring land, please email: to be notified when properties become available for purchase.


Sites Divested To-date



Regeneration Outcomes

177-185 St Asaph Street – 2216m2


Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery School.

Will bring school children back into the central city.

Located along the South Frame Greenway near the Bus Interchange.

145-149, 153, 157 High Street (Duncan’s Buildings) - 845m²


Reinstatement of damaged heritage Duncan’s Buildings façade. Interconnects the buildings with the South Frame laneway to the rear. Strengthened façades would enable the reopening of High Street which links Ara to the city.

141 Tuam Street, 617, 627-631, 635-643 Colombo Street, 54, 58, 60 Lichfield Street (East end of Justice and Emergency Services Precinct) -4488m2


Development of the EntX cinema entertainment and eatery complex.

Extended hours of activation.

A new offering in the central city that does not compete with office and retail.

96-100 Oxford Terrace/82-86 Cashel Street (Container Mall area) - 3573m2


Development of a Riverside Market with a mixture of permanent and seasonal stalls. High end retail opening on Cashel Street. Hospitality on Oxford Tce opening onto the Avon River Precinct with extended hours. It could host night markets on the public realm. It will include laneways to open the block.

199 High Street - 114m²


The purchaser owns the neighbouring site (201 High Street) and part of the basement on the site was believed to support the neighbouring damaged heritage façade. The transaction enables to developer to restore the heritage façade.

200 Tuam Street (ECan North) - 3945m²


ECan. A large organisation bringing staff and visitors into the South Frame area of the central city.

215 St Asaph Street (ECan South) – 1901m2


ECan. A large organisation bringing staff and visitors into the South Frame area of the central city.

207 St Asaph Street (Mata Lane South -1,343m2


ECan is a large organisation bringing staff and visitors into the South Frame area of the central city.

794 Colombo Street - 784m2


Ko Tāne will develop a tourist attraction, including a café and river/waka excursions. 



  • Preparing a proposal to acquire land

    A proposal should be a high level outline that concisely covers the key points, and includes people activation numbers and (if possible) concept drawings. Ōtākaro advises against investing heavily in the proposal and designs at this early stage. Proposals needs to show alignment with:

    1. Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (CCRP)

    The CCRP defines the form of the central city and the Blueprint sets out the locations of Anchor Projects and Precincts needed to optimise recovery. It provides a framework for redeveloping the city centre and investment opportunities.

    2. A liveable city

    Vibrant and thriving central cities need attractive neighbourhoods with diverse communities to support business growth and development. The target for Christchurch is 20,000 people living in the central city by 2040, as the Residential Chapter of the CCRP explains.

    3. An Accessible City

    'An Accessible City' promotes that buildings, open spaces, streets and facilities within the central city will be safe, accessible, and people friendly.

    4. People activation

    A vibrant and thriving central city needs the support of people living and working there. Developers need to demonstrate how their development would increase the number of people and how it would activate the area.

    5. Accessibility for all

    Ōtākaro promotes universal accessibility for all, which goes beyond legislation. Ōtākaro recommends developers engage with the Earthquake Leadership Disability Group (ELDG) during the design phase of their development. ELDG endorse Barrier Free, a consultancy service that provides accessibility audits. Developers must integrate accessibility into their development and undertake an accessibility audit.

    6. Streets and Spaces Design Guidelines

    As the Streets and Spaces Design Guide explains, Developments must be people focused, have a strong sense of place, and generate community pride in a coherent and coordinated manner.

    There is a more detailed Streets and Spaces Strategic Guide. Because of the large file size, it is available in three sections: the first has the introduction, strategic approach design criteria and covers the gathering spaces, the second covers street design and the third covers anchor projects and implementation.

    7. Health and safety

    Ōtākaro actively promotes the highest standards of health and safety. Every contractor and sub-contractor must be signatories of, or operate under a signatory of, the Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter. Further Information and Assistance Please contact the Properties and Opportunities Team at Ōtākaro.