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However, staff say much of the cash was spent on consultation which can be transferred to the future search for new offices.
A report about the Dowling St project was discussed at a regional council committee meeting yesterday.
It also outlined the $1.192 million cost of moving the council chambers and some staff into the Philip Laing House while a new headquarters option was being sought.
The cost included fit-out, consultant fee, plus equipment and furniture.
This was down from the projected cost of $1.529 million.
Cr Bryan Scott said after the Dowling St case fell through, the council needed to ''get on with'' finding a new site.
''Nothing has changed ... It needs to be in Dunedin.''
Cr Ella Lawton said the council needed to be ''future-proofing'', instead of being set on a Dunedin office.
''We are just assuming, with a lot of danger, that our region is going to look the same in the future as it does now.''
She hoped alternatives were being considered, she said.
Cr Michael Laws said two years after the Dowling St site was first investigated there was ''no progress at all''.
The council went down ''unfortunate blind alleys'' in the investigation of that site, he said.
A previous council concluded a Dunedin site was necessary and the idea needed to be revisited, he said.
Regional council executive officer Ian McCabe said he estimated more than 70% of the results of the cost of the Dowling St investigation would still be useful in the search for new headquarters.
A council report said the design team now knew what the council needed and elements of the concept for could be applied to any new site.
The majority of the cost, $370,642, was spent in the first year of investigations.
The council further discussed the issue in a public-excluded session, citing needing the ability not to prejudice commercial activities or negotiations.
The council report said staff would ''shortly'' report back on the search for a new site.
In March 2016, the council resolved its Stafford St headquarters would not meet its long-term needs.
In June that year it confirmed a Dowling St site, owned by the Dunedin City Council, was its preference and began an investigation.
In July this year, it was revealed the regional council withdrew its bid for the site.
The regional council said then it realised that site was not suitable for all its requirements.