Businessman set to transform historic Christchurch post office

Ryan Boswell
Source: 1News

A Christchurch businessman is hoping to transform a grand old dame in Cathedral Square.

Darin Rainbird has signed a 25-year lease for the old Chief Post Office, which was once home to home to New Zealand’s first telephone exchange, so it can be turned into a busy hospitality and visitors complex.

Three million dollars of public and private funds have been spent bringing the historic building up to code, which has sat empty after it was damaged in the 2011 earthquakes.

“We want to make it a space for humans rather than a space for retailers.

“We will run every business component that’s within the building so that’s probably a different model to what happens to most developments like this,” said Rainbird.

Built in 1878 for the postal department as well as other Government services, it will soon house restaurants, a bakery, a deli, an information centre and a cooking school.

“We think we'll have the largest outdoor plaza area in the country,” Rainbird said.

Crowd funding is still being sought with the goal to secure $5 million worth of shares.

The website set up for the project can be found here.