Security to prevent fittings theft

Painter Rikki Walker, from Decorating Services Dunedin, paints the boarded-up entrance of the...
Painter Rikki Walker, from Decorating Services Dunedin, paints the boarded-up entrance of the former chief post office in the Exchange yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Recent work on Dunedin's former chief post office in the Exchange was an effort to secure the site of the proposed hotel project, while discussions were continuing with a possible tenant.

The main access to the Princes St site was boarded up over the weekend and then painted white yesterday.

The Invercargill-based building owner and hotelier, Geoff Thomson, said the work was a security measure aimed at preventing people from entering the building, and stealing decorative features.

''We have put it up it to protect it.''

Asked if there were any other developments for the building, which had been reroofed and had steel frames for the atrium installed, he replied: ''We are still working on it''.

''We have the architects doing a few bits and pieces on the building just now. We might have something come up in another two to three months.''

Earlier this year, the Otago Daily Times reported Silver Fern Farms was considering moving its Dunedin headquarters to the site as an anchor tenant. Mr Thomson confirmed this, saying: ''We are in discussions'' with Silver Fern Farms.

The Distinction Hotels owner, who bought the site for a reported $4.4 million in May 2010, said he remained committed to turning the former chief post office into a hotel.

Initial plans for ''the Distinction Dunedin'' included 180 rooms and suites, restaurants, bars, conference facilities, a business centre, gym and lap pool. Mr Thomson did not want to comment on the proposed $100 million waterfront hotel, other than to say: ''If they want to go and do it, it is not up to me to knock someone else's aspirations.''

The waterfront project - if approved - was unlikely to affect his project, he said.

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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