Carisbrook sold; future unclear

Dave Cull
Dave Cull
The sale of Carisbrook to construction company Calder Stewart has been confirmed, but details of its future remain unclear.

The Dunedin City Council yesterday confirmed its agreement with the company to buy the old sports ground - first announced in February - went unconditional yesterday.

That meant the company, not the council, now owned the ground.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, in a statement yesterday, welcomed the announcement.

''Carisbrook has been an ongoing liability to council and it's good to get it sold.''

However, what would happen at the site, other than an unspecified industrial development, remained unclear.

Calder Stewart has declined to discuss its plans, and the company's joint managing director, Alan Stewart, said in yesterday's statement only that was he was pleased to reach a ''satisfactory outcome for all parties''.

The company has obtained consent to demolish all grandstands - including the hospitality complex - at the site, leaving only the category one-listed Neville St turnstile building.

The turnstile, and the surrounding 400sq m of land, had been given back to the council at no cost, except for ''minimal'' surveying costs, Mr Cull said.

That recognised the turnstile building's historic significance and could allow the development of a ''pocket park'', he said.

Yesterday's deal would also see Calder Stewart pay $3.5 million for the site, not the $3.3 million earlier announced.

The company would be refunded $200,000 as long as all buildings - except the hospitality complex - were demolished within six months, Mr Cull said.

Mr Cull and council chief executive Paul Orders declined to comment further, but the council planned to release further information next week.

That could shed more light on the council's loss on the deal since buying the ground - and surrounding properties - from the Otago Rugby Football Union for $7 million in 2009.

There were suggestions the council's total loss could be up to $4 million, if an earlier $2 million loan from the council to the ORFU was included.

The 1997 loan was repaid only by the ORFU using its proceeds from the sale of Carisbrook to the council.

Mr Cull said in yesterday's statement there was a shortage of industrial land in Dunedin.

''It is hoped the deal will lead to opportunities for investment and economic growth and help revitalise that part of South Dunedin.''


Pointing out the truth

Gunner: no, this is a new analysis done this morning using the numbers in this article, with sadly a new (larger) result  - I think it's important to point out that the mayor is wrong when he implies that the ongoing liability from the abysmal Carisbrook deal has gone away just because the property has been sold - unless he wants to increase this year's rates rise from 4% to near 8% to pay off the Carisbrook loan interest on that loan will continue to accrue. But after all it is an election year, stuff like this needs to be spread under the PR carpet.

The DCC would have been smart to take Carisbrook for free from the ORFU when they offered it as part of their contribution to the cost of building the stadium, instead we got an empty promise of private fundraising that rugby welched on.

Cut and paste?

Have you just cut and pasted this comment Mike?

I'm sure I have read this before.

We all know the numbers!

Carisbrook an ongoing liability?

Gotta laugh at that statement. If you compare the liability we face for the FB Stadium, this is just insignificant drops in the bucket

Here we go again!

Mike's favourite thing to bash, rugby or the council.

The real loss

The $2m loan to the ORFU is a red herring it was paid back. We spent $7m on Carisbrook, when all is done we're going to get $3.3m for it, on top of that we've lost the money that the ORFU was supposed to pay us to rent the ground  - mean time we had to pay interest on the $7m loan and pay for keeping the grounds in playable condition since the ORFU moved out - interest on $7m is ~$400k for 4 years of 1.6m, maintaining the ground  in a playable state has probably cost ~$50k for the past 2 years, another $100k - so $7m - $3.3m + $1.6m + $0.1m gives us an estimated loss to the rate payer of  $5.4m. Certainly not the profit the council originally claimed we'd see.

On the upside we got out of that sweetheart 2% loan deal with the ORFU.

Of course we still owe $7m-$3.3m = $3.7m to some bank somewhere and we'll continue to accrue interest on this loan - at something like $185k/year until the ratepayers get dinged for the loss and the loan is paid off.

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