The future of two rebate schemes designed to kick-start development in Christchurch's city centre will be decided by Councillors next week.
The first scheme – the Central City development contributions residential rebate scheme – was introduced in 2014. It rebates all development contributions for residential development inside the Four Avenues to encourage developers to build more homes as part of Christchurch City Council’s long-term plan to revitalise the Central City. The second rebate scheme targeted commercial development in the central city.
With both schemes scheduled to expire on 30 June 2020, and COVID-19 changing Christchurch’s financial landscape, the Council is recommending that the commercial rebate scheme ends, and the residential rebate scheme continues – with a refresh and a tighter focus to make sure the rebates are targeted at supporting genuine residential developments, and not short term rental investment markets like Airbnb.
Councillors will be asked to end the non-residential rebate scheme on 30 June 2020 or when the funding limit of $5 million is reached, whichever happens first. They will also be asked to vote to remove the expiry date from the residential rebate scheme and undertake a review of the scheme during the period of the next Long Term Plan 2021–24, while keeping the existing $20 million funding limit.
“Although the scheme itself does not result in lifting the development margin, it does assist in making the end-product more competitively priced,” says Cr James Gough, Chair of the Central City Momentum Working Group.
“Rebating a development cost such as development contributions has proven to be a useful lever in assisting with the viability of Central City residential when we need it most.”
Jake McLellan, Councillor for the Central ward, says, “It's been good working with Cr Gough on this issue and I'm pleased this revamped scheme is focused on help where it's needed, and that the non-residential scheme is coming to an end. As a council we always need to be thinking about how we can do things better.”
As at April 2020 the total value of the residential rebates was $12.9 million, with more than 1000 residential units being developed with the support of the scheme. The commercial rebate scheme has provided developers with $2.7 million worth of rebates.