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Older commercial buildings are giving way to urban apartments in central Dunedin. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Older commercial buildings are giving way to urban apartments in central Dunedin. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Rundown former commercial buildings in Dunedin’s central business precincts are being repurposed as residential loft apartments and modern work spaces.

Much of the redevelopment is being driven by developers from outside the city who are looking for reasonably priced opportunities in relatively undiscovered ‘‘hotspots’’.

For Queenstown developer Edit South, there is still tremendous value in Otago’s biggest city.

‘‘It ticks all the boxes, there is a lot of vacancy from the first floor up around Dunedin, with great opportunities for residential space,’’ Edit South director Guy Shallard says.

The company has taken a punt on two inner city buildings in the heart of the George St heritage area.

It is part-way through remodelling 318 Moray Place, a former bar, into a mixed residential and office block and has gone unconditional on 91 St Andrew St, which it will upgrade into inner city visitor accommodation.

The developments follow the recently completed Chamberson Hotel, at 77 Stuart St, converted by developers Chris and Nick James from offices to a boutique hotel with first floor office space, as well as the Terminus at 42 Queens Gardens, which heritage developer Stephen Macknight converted from a run-down hotel to upmarket accommodation and short-stay apartments.

A heritage fund grant enabled developer Jared Palmer to add a new second storey and apartments at 252 Cumberland St.

Dunedin City Council Heritage Adviser city development Dr Andrea Farminer said it was an exciting time for the city, with several potential future heritage and accommodation options on the go.

These included consented projects at 86 Bond St, for the conversion of a low-end former John Edmond Building into apartments, the conversion of existing offices at Allbell Chambers, Stuart St to a boutique hotel and the restoration of the former SF Aburns shop at 389 Princes St, to a microbrewery and apartments.

Harcourts Otago chief executive Kelvin Collins said there would be ‘‘good demand’’ for inner city apartments, supported by increasing population growth in the city.


This will be good for our Dunedin, both in creating residential space, and upgrading our existing buildings. This sort of devlopment, in utilising what we already have, is excellent for local business and construction companies which in turn provides well paid jobs. It also diversifies our local economy which strengthens our position as a whole. Good to see those with achievable vision investing their time and money into what is a fantastic city. Now lets see DCC planning and the public be supportive about this and let the developers get on with it.

Good to hear new blood from outside the city can see the potential of our great little city.
Now we need a council that protects them from the dead wood that has kept DN in decline for decades.

Let's hope they are of good design, not more cheap blocks for filling with students. We need families who will live here for longer than a year and contribute to Dunedin.