Fire-hit business owner debates reinvestment

Typesetter Jared Bath (left) stands in the rubble of the Colortronics building yesterday with his...
Typesetter Jared Bath (left) stands in the rubble of the Colortronics building yesterday with his new boss, Dunedin Print owner Dale Hopkins, who offered him a job when the Colortronics building was gutted by fire in November. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The owner of a demolished copy shop in Dunedin is deciding if millions of dollars should be invested to rebuild.

Dunedin commercial property owner Evan Hopkins (72) said the demolition crew flattened the charred remains of the Colortronics building in Filleul St on Sunday morning and began clearing the site yesterday.

The single-level building, leased to Colortronics owner Thomas Garforth, was gutted by fire in November.

''The party wall between my building and the gym next door was cracked, and on a lean, so the whole thing had to come down.''

Fire investigators had determined the cause of the fire was a power board, he said.

The new Xerox high-quality digital printer that was destroyed had been leased by Mr Garforth.

''Fortunately, the conditions of the lease was that Xerox had to insure it,'' Mr Hopkins said.

Mr Hopkins had insured the building and expected a replacement price from quantity surveyors to be available today, he said.

The new building could be a 900sq m two-storey design that he had an architect sketch when he bought the site 15 years ago, he said.

The proposed design would take about 18 months to build and would cost up to $2 million, he said.

However, he was advertising for a tenant and could build to suit their needs, he said.

His insurance cover was for replacement, so he could decide against rebuilding if a tenant was not found, he said.

''I don't have to take the insurance.''

Mr Hopkins said Dunedin Print, which his son Dale owned, had employed Colortronics staff .

''On the morning of the fire, [we] were watching the fire brigade hosing away and I said 'well look, if you need help, just give us a whistle'.''

Before Christmas, Mr Garforth asked if Dunedin Print would employ Colortronics staff. He was closing down Colortronics because it cost too much to start again, Mr Hopkins said.

''The numbers just didn't stack up.''

Dunedin Print owner Dale Hopkins said six-month employment contracts were taken on by Colortronics typesetter Jared Bath and graphic designer Andy Frampton.

Full-time employment would be offered to both men if enough Colortronics clients used the services of Dunedin Print in the next six months, Mr Hopkins said.

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