Canterbury Property Investments
Rejuvenating the city
A long-standing friendship and a passion for redevelopment and investment has seen Miles Yeoman and Craig Newbury begin to revitalise Christchurch, one building at a time.
It all began 12 years ago; Miles was converting the old Press newsprint building at 359 Lincoln Road in partnership with Richard Diver when he met Craig and wife Miranda, who at the time were operating New Zealand Home Loans, having founded the company in 1998.
As tenants in the building, Craig and Miles were working in close quarters and the rest, as they say, is history.
After selling his company in 2011, Craig then teamed up with Miles on a project in Rangiora which saw them develop a site for Work and Income and subsequently, Warehouse Stationery and Snap Fitness.
Eighteen months later it became clearer how things might evolve within the city’s four avenues and the pair decided to forge ahead.
“We sort of thought that it was quite a good time, so let’s form a company and have a good go,” Craig says.
“And that is how Canterbury Property Investments (CPI) really arrived.”
“It was the early days,” adds Miles “nobody was really looking and within 12 months the bits of land we purchased (around Welles Street) had doubled in value.”
Since then the pair have worked together on more than a dozen projects, some of which have been instrumental in the revival of Christchurch’s central business district.
From the stylish new Warren and Mahoney building on the corner of Montreal and Cashel streets to Corianders on St Asaph Street – above which their own offices reside, to Bootleg BBQ on Welles Street, Plato Creative’s new-age office space and a cluster of new sites around Manchester and Southwark streets, CPI have worked hard to not only make their mark on the city, but to rejuvenate its post-quake state.
And it doesn’t stop there. Currently on the books is the redevelopment of the Funky Pumpkin site on Colombo Street, which will also house a Raeward Fresh, Kosco Asian Supermarket, Pedro’s House of Lamb, BurgerFuel, Pita Pit and St Pierre’s Sushi, due to be complete before this year is out; a replica of the Excelsior Hotel on Manchester Street; and the development of offices on the Gloucester Street site, formerly home to the The Press.
While Craig and Miles own the main company – CPI – they also have a number of joint venture companies which see them partner up with other investors or tenants.
“We really are a long-term investment company, we do develop buildings to hold on to, long term,” Craig says.
With a lot on their plate right now, and exciting developments in the future – including a Ponsonby-central type laneway development on Welles Street housing everything from eateries to boutiques and breweries – some might wonder whether the pair have time to look ahead and think about where their business might be five years from now.
With a drift west and south, in an area often referred to as Christchurch’s West End, both Craig and Miles envision a boom in the smaller-format office trend.
“Larger format office spaces are pretty well catered for in Christchurch now,” explains Miles.
“But really that next opportunity is small format, matching tenants to sites.”
One of the biggest challenges currently, however, is how to deal with the plethora of vacant sites.
“It’ll be decades, there will be sites in the central city that are blank for years,” Craig says.
“But to have to opportunity to build buildings for tenants that want to move into them, that is pretty exciting,” adds Miles.
“Now we just need more people here, and it’ll happen because Christchurch is a good city to live it, it’s small but it’s got everything a big city has.”