A $10 million retail refurbishment underway at a Christchurch suburban shopping mall is due to be finished before the end of the year.
Nicola Dolan, centre manager at Merivale Mall near Papanui, said works had started last May, would be finished around early November and were being undertaken by Naylor Love, with AMP the project managers and Aecom consulting to them.
Evan Harris, Colliers International's Christchurch-based national retail director of real estate management, welcomed the changes, saying although work has been underway for nearly 12 months, there had been little announced.
"There has been a considerable amount of earthquake upgrading work being undertaken and in discussion with tenants there's been a lot of talk about what's happening," he said.
The mall has more than 40 stores, with FreshCoice its major tenant.
Harris said AMP had an arrangement with mall owner Tower to run the complex including day-to-day and ongoing redevelopment.
"AMP also own The Palms Shopping Centre and Northwood Supa Centa here in Christchurch, so are relatively strong in the city," he said.
"It's actually nice to see something being made public about all the work that's happening out there and has been going on for nearly twelve months," Harris said.
Chris Wilkinson, Wellington-based First Retail Group managing director, spent three days in Christchurch recently, examining the retail scene: "It has some exceptional retailers and retail environments, driven by strong local goodwill, spend and consumer expectation, plus the rebuild has meant most businesses have been able to up their game - almost all at once.
"Merivale is unique. It's got a very strong surrounding demographics and is a confident destination for high-end consumers from other areas. While it's lost one of the icon businesses, Quinns, it still has a number of businesses people travel for and a strong cluster in the fashion category. I'm guessing the new development will further strengthen this," Wilkinson said.
The mall was shut after earthquakes earlier this decade. Structural engineers investigated and the Herald reported in 2012 that an engineering review found that although the suspended concrete floor in the affected area complied with earthquake codes current at the time of its original construction, it did not comply with the new earthquake codes updated in 2011.
Works were then carried out to upgrade the structure.