VIDEO: Welcome to Christchurch’s Salt District

VIDEO: Gordon Findlater

It may be a new part of the central city, but the Innovation Precinct is already being rebranded.

Businesses around St Asaph, Lichfield and Tuam Sts aren’t happy with the name. Little High developer Mike Percasky said it doesn’t suit the area.

“We’ve been talking about the Innovation Precinct. It hasn’t really become a hub of innovation. We’ve got epic pockets of innovation. But it’s become what it was, a gritty awesome place that is not very flashy,” Mr Percasky said.

Instead the concept of the SALT district is being developed by brand developer Josh Thompson.

“The area is framed by Lichfield, Tuam, St Asaph. We want to call it SALT district from these street names. It’s also South Alternative, S-Alt.”

But he said it also ties into a number of other aspects that the area wants to be known for.

“Salt is used to preserve. We are preserving the history of the area. We’re taking what we have and working with that,” Mr Thompson said.

“We’ve put together a name and identity. It’s not set in stone. We’re at the far end of the South Frame. This area has a lot of character, with authentic laneways. It has the potential to be a destination.”

Mr Percasky, as well as other businesses including Smash Palace owners Garry and Johnny Moore and C1 Espresso’s Sam Crofskey are working on the new name in conjunction with Otakaro.

“I talked to Otakaro. They were good. We said let’s put a group together and rebrand this area. They put together a group of property owners to kick ideas around . . . we want everyone on board to get behind this idea to establish something that describes our area better than Innovation Precinct,” Mr Percasky said.

Mr Moore said the area has its own culture and officials should be listening to locals to make sure it is accurately represented.

“You need to make sure the weeds flourish. The planners have to walk alongside the local people.”

An Ōtākaro spokesperson said it became apparent there was a shared desire among investors to promote the area as more than a hub for innovation but as a destination within the city

“Ōtākaro provided $3000 seed money to get a designer started on an initial destination brand concept. This concept was well received and the stakeholders in the area will now develop it further to ensure it has community support and meets their needs.”