$5m Golden Centre redevelopment

The entrance to Dunedin's Golden Centre, in George St. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
The entrance to Dunedin's Golden Centre, in George St. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
A multimillion-dollar refurbishment of Dunedin's Golden Centre should also resolve a dispute with the Dunedin City Council over an incomplete walkway linking the centre and the city's new Wall Street mall.

Golden Centre manager Simon Eddy yesterday confirmed plans to invest more than $5 million in the centre's refurbishment, including a new raised roof, glass atrium "meeting place", new floor and refurbished food court.

"We are essentially renovating the centre from top to bottom - very little stays the same."

Mr Eddy said he was also in "very late discussions" with prospective new tenants for the centre, and was in Auckland yesterday to have the plans approved finally by an architect.

Work was expected to begin in "two to three weeks" and be largely complete by early November, he said. The food court refurbishment would be delayed until after Christmas to avoid a clash with holiday trading.

The first stage of the upgrade would include construction of the Golden Centre side of the walkway linking the centre and Wall Street, Mr Eddy said.

That followed comments by Wall Street project manager Dave McKenzie, who yesterday suggested Golden Centre representatives had reneged on a deal to complete their side of the walkway in time for this weekend's full Wall Street opening.

The walkway was designed to allow shoppers to stroll between the Wall Street, Golden Centre and the Meridian malls - bordered by St Andrew and Hanover Sts - while remaining under cover.

Mr McKenzie said he believed an agreement had been signed with the Golden Centre "18 months to two years ago" for both sides to complete their own sides of the walkway link.

The Wall Street side had since been completed, but the Golden Centre side was not yet finished, he said.

"You would have to ask them [Golden Centre] why they haven't done it. To be frank, we're pretty gutted about it," he said.

"We have done our bit - we have met our obligations under the agreement."

However, Mr Eddy denied the claims when contacted yesterday, saying he could "categorically guarantee" there was no formal agreement to open the walkway and Wall Street together.

The aim had been to complete the Golden Centre side of the walkway as close to Wall Street's opening date as possible, but the priority was to ensure the centre's refurbishment plans were finalised, Mr Eddy said.

With those plans only now being finalised, the walkway was likely to be finished "two or three months" after the refurbishment work began next month, he said.

He believed the timeline should have been "obvious" to council staff from regular meetings held to discuss develop-ment of the Golden Centre.

"At no point have we made an undertaking to open it on the [Wall Street] opening day," he said.

However, DCC city property manager Robert Clark disagreed, saying there was "definitely" an agreement between the council and Golden Centre "to open the link between the two of us".

"I guess it's inherent in the agreement that there's a date in there, but a date couldn't be put in there in reality because when that agreement was signed two years ago . . . we wouldn't have had a completion date.

"The undertaking was to open the link. It's really how you want to read that," he said.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz


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