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Joining the Dots in Cashel Mall

Joining the Dots in Cashel Mall

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Richard Dalman looks at the progress of this favoured shopping strip. PHOTOGRAPHY Charlie Jackson

IMG_9759In November, the first retail stores – Mecca Maxima, Superette, Glassons and Hallensteins – opened in the ANZ Centre. Cashel Street was abuzz with people waiting for the doors to open and opening-day specials to be enjoyed. This once quiet side of Colombo Street now gives city-goers reasons to venture further down Cashel Mall.
The ANZ Centre is located in a critical and unique part of the CBD. It fronts four key streets – Cashel, High, Colombo, and Hereford – and is positioned on one of the two diagonals that interrupt the Christchurch grid street pattern. This interruption creates the potential for interesting buildings and spaces. The ANZ Centre achieves this with its curvaceous glass façade and the soon-to-open glass atrium on the High Street side. Hopefully, it will also relate positively to the triangular space immediately to the north.
Cashel Mall is a destination shopping strip, in which Ballantynes has held the fort since the earthquakes. Ballantynes is the anchor I believe Christchurch should be grateful decided to stay. Our city owes much to the business’ ongoing determination and loyalty. The innovative Re:start Mall has been another very successful mainstay that continues to delight tourists and locals alike.
With the CBD spaces starting to fill there is a “joining of the dots” occurring. Ballantynes and the ANZ Centre will soon be joined by BNZ, The Terraces and The Crossing developments. The stage is set for increased retail activity in between, and soon there will be more buildings than gaps in this area. A feeling of integration, wholeness and style is achieved as more building developments progress. Not only is retail starting to return to the CBD, but so, too, are the commercial tenancies bringing more people to the centre every day. It is good to see the place pumping with people.
Our architecture practice was in the inner city prior to the earthquakes, and one of the things I have missed was the opportunity to bump into friends and colleagues on the street. A lot of business is done through such informal meetings, and much of that has been lost. With the CBD starting to function again, the heart of the city promises to be a vibrant, inspiring destination.