Victoria Tait explores why Merivale is becoming one of the fastest growth areas in the Christchurch rebuild.
As our city redevelops, certain areas are starting to take shape. One of these is Merivale. Losing many of its shops in the September earthquake, it would be fair to say that Merivale was one of the worst-hit retail areas of Christchurch. There was liquefaction in the streets and substantial damage to the shops on Papanui Road, many of which needed to come down due to severe damage.
However, you would have also noticed that Merivale was also one of the fastest areas to recover. I remember speaking with Margaret Quinn only weeks after her retail store, Quinns Fashions, was almost demolished. Rather than take defeat she promptly enlisted a builder to board up areas of the shop to ensure its safely and was back up trading. Margaret had also started working on a redesign for the store.
I believe it’s due to the determination of Merivale business owners that the area is not only back up on its feet, but gaining the interest of national retailers, especially those offering high-end fashion and interiors. In the past month, four top retail brands have opened stores in the new development at 203 Papanui Road. Moochi, Kate Sylvester, Wallace Cotton and Rodd & Gunn join the likes of Ruby, Taylor, Plume, Dfusion and JNBY, all on the same stretch of street. Working Style and Victoria Black are but a stone’s throw away, too.
Speaking with Moochi’s creative director Kellie Taylor, she mentioned “When looking for a location to open the new store, Merivale was the biggest drawcard, due to becoming a prestigious shopping destination in Christchurch.”
With 49 retail stores in Merivale Mall and now a number in the surrounding area, as well as numerous restaurants and cafés, Merivale is fast becoming the “it” location in Christchurch.