More space for retailers

Construction of Mosgiel's new $20 million Countdown supermarket should provide a boost for other businesses in the area and offer opportunities for retailers to move into the town, Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairman Bill Feather says.

Retail space had traditionally been difficult to obtain and Countdown's development of a new retail block on the site of the former St Mary's School would open up new opportunities as the store vacated its present Factory Rd site, Mr Feather said.

"It's often said that Mosgiel doesn't have sufficient retail space for larger retailers,'' he said.

"This frees up some existing space - a larger building.

"It's vacant space usable for another retailer and I think people will start feeding off that.''

Construction of the $20million 3350sq m supermarket on the former school site bordering Gordon Rd and Church St is expected to begin within the next month.

When Countdown's plans were announced in December 2014, the company said an additional 180sq m of specialty retail space would be built on an adjoining site and would likely provide space for two other retailers.

At the time, Countdown said it would cost $15million, create 48 jobs and replace the chain's existing Factory Rd store. It was unclear what had led to the $5million increase in budget.

About 50 people are employed at the Factory Rd store. That number would double when the new store was complete, the company said.

The supermarket was approved in March after a protracted consent process.

The Dunedin City Council consented in October to the supermarket being built in residential-zoned land with conditions, but Countdown's parent company, Progressive Enterprises, appealed some of the conditions and the Environment Court sent the parties to mediation.

They reached an agreement following mediation, which is understood to include an agreement with neighbours regarding noise produced by the store.

Countdown confirmed last week the tender to build the store was completed and the store was due to open in early 2017.

Mr Feather said it was heartening to see the development finally taking place.

"It's been many years in the making - it's gone through all sorts of brick walls - so to overcome all of that and to see builders' sheds appear on that site, and there was a digger there before the weekend, certainly gladdens the heart,'' he said.

Community board member, and former Mosgiel Business Association chairwoman, Sarah Nitis said the development of the store was a boost for the community.

Having a supermarket at the other end of town to the present sites of Countdown and New World would also be positive for elderly in the area, she said.

She hoped the growing business community and population in the area would lead to improvements to arterial roads in the area.

The area had been a victim of its own success and "we need to see some roading infrastructure to reflect that'', she said.

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