A pedestrian walks past Dunedin's former chief post office building last night. About 145 staff from Silver Fern Farms are expected to start work in the first two floors of building this morning. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The return today of a commercial tenant to Dunedin's former
chief post office building for the first time in more than 15
years marks a significant milestone in the restoration
About 145 staff from Silver Fern Farms are expected to start
work in their new headquarters - occupying the first two
floors of the partially-restored building - this morning.
The company and contractors spent Otago Anniversary weekend
moving in, installing computer systems and making sure all
was in readiness for staff after the ground and first floors
were renovated for their purposes.
Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper could not be
reached for comment yesterday, but there were obvious signs
of activity within the building and the company's flag was
flying from the building's flagpole.
It was the first time the building had been home to a
permanent tenant since closing its doors in 1997, building
owner Geoff Thomson, of Distinction Hotels, said.
The reopening marked a significant milestone for the
restoration project, with more tenants, a three-level car
park building and, eventually, the 120-apartment
four-star-plus Distinction Dunedin Hotel, all to follow.
While the presence of Silver Fern Farms staff on lower levels
would make the second stage of the project more complicated,
it was nevertheless pleasing to have them in the building, Mr
''They are a great fit for the building and it's going to be
really nice having a significant tenant in the building.
They're really excited about the space, as we are to have
''It's actually coming together really well. The building's
looking really great.''
A second tenant, Multipeak Health and Fitness, was expected
to move in to its second floor premises within weeks, which
left only one vacant space for a third tenant, also on the
second floor, he said.
Mr Thomson expected work on a three-level car park building
next to the building, on Bond St, would soon follow.
Work had also begun on converting the remaining floors for Mr
Thomson's planned hotel, although ''it'll be finished when we
get there'', he said.
Retrofitting activity had been ongoing for the past six
months, but had become more obvious as the car park site was
cleared for tradesmen's vehicles, he said.
''[Then] people realised how many people have really been
working on this.''
Work to date looked ''really sharp'' and included a raised
floor to hide pipes, wires, air conditioning and sprinkler
services, to protect views of the ''the lovely ornate
ceilings'', he said.
''That's worked really well.''