Kmart extends closure of Meridian Mall store

Kmart in the Meridian Mall remains closed. Photo: ODT
Kmart in the Meridian Mall remains closed. Photo: ODT
Kmart has extended the closure of its Dunedin shop and the company says upgrades are needed at the site before any reopening.

‘‘We’re extremely keen to reopen our doors to the community of Dunedin but the health and wellbeing of our team members and customers remains our number one priority,’’ a company spokesman said.

‘‘The Dunedin store does not meet our minimum safety standards and we require a few upgrades before we can reopen our doors.’’

The company had indicated on its New Zealand website that the department store in the Meridian Mall would reopen today.

Kmart had also issued a statement on May 29, saying then that the shop would remain closed for two weeks while the company awaited engineering advice about seismic strengthening needed at the mall.

The timeframe would have lined up with reopening today but the company adjusted its website this week and listed the shop as closed through to Wednesday next week.

Kmart said it was in close discussions with Meridian Mall management about the upgrades required.

The manager of the mall, the Oyster Property Group, said work was not legally required for years.

However, design for the required work to improve the building’s seismic performance was under way.

The Dunedin shop has not traded since the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed in March.

The latest reopening delay comes amid uncertainty about the company’s plans in Dunedin.

The Otago Daily Times reported this week Kmart had expressed some interest in an alternative location in the city — The Warehouse’s Dunedin central city site in Maclaggan St.

It is proposed The Warehouse store will close in August.

An assessment by structural engineers found the Meridian Mall had an expected seismic performance of less than 34% of the new building standard.

The Oyster group has stated previously the rating applied only to performance during an earthquake and the 23-year-old centre’s performance was not uncommon for buildings of its age.

Oyster group retail asset manager Jennifer Andrews said yesterday the building had a warrant of fitness and complied with the Building Act.

Kmart representatives have repeatedly cited concerns about ‘‘high levels of seismic activity’’ in the Dunedin area.

However, the Oyster group has pointed out Dunedin is categorised as being in a low seismic risk zone.

There is no word yet on the future of another high-profile tenant at Meridian Mall, H&J Smith.

It is proposed the shop will close but a final decision has yet to be made.



Does that also make the car park unsafe?

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