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Farmers’ Market to be the ‘heart and soul’ of the city

Tags: Canterbury Christchurch Christchurch CBD Commercial

Peebles Group director Richard Peebles unveiled further plans for his Christchurch Farmers’ Market project to a packed house at the Bayleys@5 event on 20 April.

The aptly named ‘Riverside Farmers’ Market’ will sit on the current RE:Start Mall site. The design of the impressive five-building complex – which will encompass fresh food markets, boutique hospitality and retail tenants – was inspired by European markets in cities such as Copenhagen.

“Farmers’ markets are the heart and soul of a city,” says Peebles. “It’s where people naturally congregate and come together as a community.”

Building will start on 1 February 2018, with the complex earmarked for completion by 1 November 2018. The quick build time aims to minimise disruption for central city retailers.

Riverside Farmers’ Market will offer a point of difference to supermarket chains and suburban malls, Peebles says. “The focus will be on fresh, local produce. Customers will be able to buy directly from the farmer, so they’ll know exactly what has gone into their food and where it has come from. It’s a much healthier connection to food than going to your local supermarket.”

Increased lease prices in the Central City have created a barrier for small businesses wanting to return to the city, Peebles says. He hopes to encourage small businesses back to the city by offering low rental options in the Market – as little as $250 a week for a stall. As the precinct will be completely covered all year round, stall holders won’t have to battle weather issues associated with outdoor markets either.

Peebles says RE:Start Mall was one of the “first projects to bring people back into the CBD” and he wants the Market precinct to have the same vibrant, community focus. Many tenants currently in RE:Start Mall have already secured leases in Riverside Farmers’ Market.

Peebles estimates the Market precinct will attract 10,000 people a day, including locals and tourists alike. An adjacent open space could potentially be used to host festivals, such as the popular Night Noodle Market and Christchurch Lantern Festival. In summer, Peebles hopes the space will host at least one major public event a week.

“Activation of the public space is extremely important. We want it to host activities that engage the people of this city and to reflect what they want to see.”

As a born and bred Cantabrian, Peebles can’t wait to get the project underway. “We’re passionate about Christchurch. We’re really excited about the CBD. We know it’s going to be a really vibrant place – it will be a very different city in two years’ time.”

The next Bayleys@5 event will be held on 18 May. Click here to find out more and to register your interest.

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