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MODERN BUSINESS THOROUGHFARE.

UNIQUE in New Zealand both because it is privately owned and because it is built in a single architectural style, New Regent street, the new connecting link between Gloucester and Armagh streets, will be formally opened at 7.30 o'clock this evening, when the Mayor of Christchurch (Mr D. G. Sullivan, M.P.) will cut * ribbon across the entrance. Speeches will be made by the Mayor, Cr. E. H. Andrews (chairman of the City Council's Town Planning Committee), Cr. J. Beanland (chairman of the Council's Works Committee), Mr D. Manson (chairman of directors of the company), and Mr A., F. Stacey (director and promoter of the scheme). The ceremony will be broadcast by loud-speakers and bands will be playing. New Regent street, it is claimed, is the most modern in Australia and New Zealand in the facilities which it offers to the public and to shopkeepers. Apart from that, it embodies the very latest in town-planning ideas, and is finished in a most unusual scheme of colouring. The time when the site of New Regent street was only a bare paddock is still within living memory. Then the Colosseum Building was erected, built of heart kauri and containing a larger wooden span than any other building in New Zealand. It is interesting to note that the Colosseum still held this record when it was demolished in 1930.

In the early days it was the home of entertainments of all kinds. The Colosseum was the first hall in New Zealand in which moving pictures o'r cinematograph shows, as they were then called—were presented. In it a Mr Scott established a walking record of 100 miles . in 24 hours, which was in its day a world's record. It was used for almost every possible kind of amusement, from prize-fighting to circuses. Thousands will remember it as a skating rink. Many of the famous politicians in the, past—Seddon, Massey, and Ward among them—gave stirring speeches within its walls. Ultimately the building was condemned by the Christchurch City Council and was then used for the storage of motor-cars. A few years ago it was repaired and re-estab-lished for the accommodation of a large fleet of taxis. VARIOUS PROPOSALS DISCUSSED. During 1929 various proposals for the opening-up of the City were being discussed. One of the suggestions was a roadway starting from the south-east corner of Gloucester street, '■. .. cutting through the properties of Lord Lyttelton, the old Colosseum block, the rear of the • Theatre Royal, and the property occupied by Dominion Motors, Ltd. Because of the immense cost of land involved this and other projects of the day were ultimately found impracticable. At this stage the Colosseum block came under the notice of Mr A. F. Stacey, who recognised that the time was opportune for a thoroughfare to be made from Gloucester street to Armagh street. He could see that such a thoroughfare would be a welcome relief to the traffic congestion in the Vicinity of Colombo and Armagh streets, where the pavement is scarcely

Many Difficulties Overcome.

wide enough to cater for the thousands of pedestrians who congregate in this part of the City. A HUGE FRONTAGE. Options were secured over this great block, thus, making it possible for the newly -formed company, Regent Street, Limited, to secuireWer 600 feet of street fr-pntage by purchasing a minimum of frontage to Armagh and Gloucester streets. Owing to the fact that all the 'back land was brought into street frontage the cost to the company worked out at £B2 'l2s 6d per foot. The company had to surmount many difficulties before it succeeded in securing the title of a subdivision of 40 separate titles. This was finally accomplished with the Christchurch City Council, the Public Works Department, and the town planning authorities, the only stipulation being that the company should build the whole street according; to the conditions laid down by the Director of Town Planning. SPANISH DESIGN. Mr H. F. Willis was appointed architect for the work, and his plans, of Spanish design,, have been warmly commended. The ideals of town planning are fully embodied in the thoroughfare—solid foundations, hollow brick walls, steel girders running the full length of the street, reinforced concrete pillars, and ample window space and ventilation. Each shop has its separate services and separate right-of-ways. There is an abundance of heating and lighting installations.

The successful contrac- . tors were P. Graham and, Son, Ltd. The Tanson marble entrances to the shops were executed by T. Andrews and Sons. The excellent fittings and spacious appearance of the shSps, suggesting comfort and good business conditions, have been highly commended. In each shop an easilygraded staircase leads to a showroom in the upper storey Which is finished in specially-selected timbers. Many of the showrooms have double sliding doors opening on to art balconies overlooking the street. The outside appearance of the street is striking. Each shop is permanently colour e d by a special new cement colour process. Mr William T. Trethewey, sculptor, designed the fibrous plaster and other interior decorations and certain other modelling. The glass fittings were installed * by Hurst and Drake.

FINE LIGHTING EFFECTS. Shopkeepers are assured against the annoyance and loss of trade caused by excavations in the road, for all the services—pipes and wires—have been laid down in the right-of-ways behind the shops. Another feature of the street is the lighting. It has been realised that brilliant lighting effects encourage trade, and special attention has been given to outside lighting. The whole of the outside lights will always be ablaze from sunset to midnight. Eighty-eight powerful electric globes have been installed, some of them in the .form of ornamental torches standing out from the walls of the shops. The company has arranged with the Municipal Electricity Department for a special time clock which will be controlled and operated by them only. Negotiations have also been completed for the flood-lighting of the whole street by fourteen powerful Mow& l&nps ? installed on the verandahs*. ';/'■•. V'-'V S, y ' *>.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19320401.2.13

Bibliographic details

MODERN BUSINESS THOROUGHFARE., Press, Volume LXVIII, Issue 20510, 1 April 1932

Word Count
997

MODERN BUSINESS THOROUGHFARE. Press, Volume LXVIII, Issue 20510, 1 April 1932

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