I hate to be negative about what was supposed to be one of the shining lights of Christchurch’s rebuild, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to sink-the-slipper into the newly restored, repaired and refurbished New Regent Street, in the inner city CBD area.
It opened to much fanfare just a few weeks ago, (unfortunately it was a bitter wet cold weekend) and only five shops were open, the rest remaining empty, un-leased, or still under repair and re-modelling.
Since that opening weekend, a couple more shops may have opened, but the place is still largely deserted. I just did a walk-through at 4.10pm today (Monday 10 June 2013) and almost everything, what little there was, was closed already.
Enquiring as to whether a coffee-shop/cafe stayed open later on Friday nights, it appears not. Both Coffee Lovers and Shop Eight Rekindle close at 4pm. Number 157 on the corner (no new sign, but previously it was apparently called Design Cafe Moko) was well shut up. There were unfortunately no signs indicating what hours or even what days DCMoko was open, and not even a telephone number for making enquiries.
I realise that some of their business during the day will be city workers’ lunchtime and tea-break purchases (although I doubt if they will get many staff from The Press building opposite, as, having seen the lunchroom and cafe up there, I reckon their staff would never want to leave ! ).
Yes today was bleak, heavily overcast grey skies. Dry yes, but cool temperatures. A typical “Manchester” day, an old English work colleague of mine would have said. With a chilly wind blowing, there were very few people making their way around the CBD area. But still, The new New Regent Street was quite a disappointment.
I’m told there is a bar there called The Last Word, but I never went in, so cannot give you any details.
Maybe I’ll visit New Regent Street in the run-up to Christmas. The weather will be warmer for sure, and maybe by then the current 15 or so empty shops will be up and running… and if I’m really really lucky, they’ll stay open, even after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
The photo above was taken on 24 July 2012, when the street was still closed and the historic buildings were undergoing stabilisation and repair from earthquake damage.