ORC open to parking building idea

The Otago Regional Council is keeping an open mind about the possibility of a car parking building being built in Dowling St on part of the site where it hopes to establish its new headquarters building.

ORC chief executive Peter Bodeker made that point yesterday, after the ORC resolved earlier this month to investigate the Dunedin car park site further, to concept design and project estimate stage.

The council ultimately hopes to establish by March 2019 a two-storey head office building of 3000sq m on the Dunedin City Council-owned site.

The manager of nearby Les Mills Dunedin Gym, Peter Lee, said this month it would be "critical'' for the area's future that a multi-storeyed car parking building was also added elsewhere on the site if part of the car park was redeveloped.

There were more than 120 individual parks at the existing site, but many were leased, and only about 60 were available for casual use, Mr Lee said.

Mr Bodeker had recently written to the DCC and hoped that there would be a meeting between ORC and DCC representatives soon to discuss the ORC's desire to acquire land.

The ORC has said it aimed to accommodate 60 vehicles at the site, including within the building, where an underground car park may be built.

Mr Bodeker said he was aware of Mr Lee's concerns about parking.

Mr Bodeker said the ORC was keeping an open mind about parking issues and other requirements, and "anything's possible''.

He emphasised it was too early to comment more fully.

Retired former DCC director of works and city engineer Trevor Williams, now of Wanaka, said the Dowling St site was identified as suitable for a parking building in a city engineer's report on a comprehensive parking programme for the city approved by the DCC in April 1966.

The council later bought the four large buildings on the site, which was cleared for surface parking by 1971.

An earlier parking study estimated that by 1986 the parking demand would be high enough to justify a building. However, commercial activity drifted away from the area and it remained undeveloped. All other sites identified in 1966 were developed for parking and many were now parking buildings.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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