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The assessments by consultant Beca were contained in documents supporting Dunedin’s bid for Provincial Growth Fund money in late 2018.
The bid for $103 million, later revised down to $44 million, eventually resulted in the city being awarded $19.9 million for stage one in October last year.
The assessments were among a bundle of information released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment yesterday, following an official information request by the Otago Daily Times.
One of the economic assessments showed the wider development plan was expected to generate about 1750 ‘‘sustained’’ jobs once finished, including those associated with a hotel planned as part of the development.
That was in addition to the 740 construction jobs expected to be created during the project’s development phase, which was scheduled to last up to 15 years.
The finished product could also deliver a 5% boost to the number of tourists coming to Dunedin, adding an extra $38 million a year to the city’s annual visitor spend.
Council chief executive Sue Bidrose said yesterday the figures remained the best estimate of economic impact arising from the development, and highlighting some of the benefits of pursuing the project.
‘‘We’ve got some of the prime waterfront spots in town that are currently wasteland.
‘‘Making those part of the city that’s a very attractive place to be is appealing.
Estimates of private and public sector investment required — including by the council — to make the development a reality had been redacted from some documents, while others were withheld.
The documents did show the council was, in late 2018, set to sign a secret agreement with an unnamed party to build the hotel envisaged as part of the development.
The deal included an agreement to keep its existence, and the identity of the developer, under wraps until such time as a resource consent had been obtained.
Dr Bidrose said yesterday the agreement was still to be signed, as the hotel was part of stage two of the development, but was ‘‘close’’.
The indicative business case, also prepared by Beca, outlined plans for the creation of a new urban development agency, and noted a private sector developer could lead the wider development.
Dr Bidrose said the agency was likely not to be needed until stage two, but that would be a decision for councillors in the near future.
Among ‘‘strategic risks’’ identified in the documents were difficulties amalgamating land titles, which could lead to delays and higher acquisition costs.
Other high-level technical risks were also noted, including the potential for building platform costs to rise, requiring increased funding from the council.
Dr Bidrose said the risk to council finances was controlled, as the council was only committed to paying for its share of the $20 million waterfront bridge and the kind of public space improvements it would usually invest in.
Any additional spending would require a council resolution to be added to the council’s budget, she said.
The $19.9 million allocated from the PGF would pay for stage one of the project, involving the restoration of sea walls and wharves and a building platform on the north side of Steamer Basin, for the sustainable futures building.
Developments on the southern side of the basin would follow in stages two and three, as would a further request for PGF money, should it continue.
Obvious signs of progress — consents issued, building partners confirmed and possibly even early work under way — were expected by late this year.