Five of Christchurch’s biggest car rental brands are joining forces to return to the central city.

Avis and its subsidiary Budget; Hertz, Thrifty, and Apex are all going into a new International Rental Car Precinct to be built on the corner of Manchester and Kilmore sts.

The $10 million three-storey complex will be built by central city landlord Craig Nicholas. It will sit on a 2000sq m property diagonally opposite the old St Luke’s church site and should be finished by May next year.

Nicholas was Avis’s landlord on Lichfield and Tuam sts for 25 years before the earthquakes, but that land was bought compulsorily by the Crown for the new justice and emergency precinct.

Once he found land with the right mixed-use zoning for Avis, Nicholas decided to expand the project and bought five adjoining properties.

“It’s no longer economic for all these rental companies to have their own sites – it just doesn’t work out. There’s some economy of scale in having it in a dedicated building.”

Nicholas said the new development’s location would bring “immeasurable benefits” to the city, as self-drive tourists in rental cars were known to spend money at local shops, hotels and restaurants.

He is about to lodge a building consent application with council, and will start construction as soon as it is issued.

The new complex will have individual reception areas for each rental brand, on-site petrol and diesel tanks, car washing and grooming facilities, 130 onsite car parks and provision for ten electric vehicle charging stations.

Since the earthquakes the rental car firms have been housed in various suburban locations around Christchurch.