Green Island retail plans win support

The run-down Iron Roller Mills Building in Green Island. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The run-down Iron Roller Mills Building in Green Island. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Plans for a Green Island retail development which could transform one of Dunedin's industrial heritage sites have won initial support from a critic and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Irmo Properties Ltd has applied for resource consent to refurbish the run-down Iron Roller Mills Building on Irmo St, in Green Island, turning it into a new 4900sq m retail complex with 187 car parks.

If approved by the Dunedin City Council, the up-to-$2 million development would see the main industrial building on the site - believed to date from between 1910 and the late 1920s - refurbished. The developers and supporters hope many of its fittings can be retained.

The project would provide space for a mix of "bulk and specialist" retailers, with room for up to six, depending on the mix of tenants attracted, Irmo Properties director Grant Chirnside said.

Possible tenants would not be approached, nor detailed designs completed, until after a consent decision was made later this year.

However, Mr Chirnside yesterday moved to quell opposition from those worried about the effect on existing Green Island shops, suggesting a consent condition prohibiting a supermarket and other retail types at the site.

The suggestion was included in the company's consent application, and would also prohibit liquor, fast food, tavern or restaurant, fuel, grocery and food, clothing, DVD and video rental, hairdressing and pharmacy retail activities at the site.

Initial plans earlier this year prompted some residents and business owners to fear a supermarket would result, dividing the area's retail zone into two competing sections.

The application was lodged on Wednesday, with a request it also be publicly notified because of community interest, he said.

Green Island resident Graham Roper said it was "really positive" community concerns appeared to have been listened to, and he looked forward to "working with them on a project that will enhance the community".

"You can only welcome that, and support it."

NZHPT Otago Southland area manager Owen Graham could not comment on the project's merits until design details were confirmed, but supported efforts to adapt old buildings for future use.

"[If] someone invests in the upgrading of a building like this, they're investing in the longer-term survival of its features.

"It was built to last and it's still got some useful time left in it."

He inspected the site with Mr Chirnside last month, and it appeared the building was "pretty capable" of being redeveloped into a retail complex with an industrial theme.

It was one of many industrial heritage sites around Dunedin, iron rolling having played a "pretty important" part in the city's history.

"We're hopeful it will reflect its previous use in whatever they develop for the interior."

The site's main building was not registered or protected, but the developers had received professional advice and had been granted an NZHPT archaeological authority, Mr Graham said.

Mr Chirnside said the NZHPT would continue to be consulted during the redevelopment process, if consent was granted.

The plan involved the refurbishment of the building's exterior, the removal of some outbuildings and sheds, and retention of some original features.

It was hoped a consent hearing would be held within two months.



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