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All eyes were skyward around Dunedin's former chief post office yesterday as a large crane lowered truck-sized sections of steel through the roof to form two new lift shafts.
The work was part of the historic building's multimillion-dollar transformation into the four-star-plus Distinction Dunedin hotel, which is on schedule to be completed by the end of next year, Arrow International strategic development manager Stephen Cairns said.
Yesterday's operation was centred on the Bond St side of the building where the main entrance will be located.
Mr Cairns said holes had been cut in each floor of the 10-storey building over the past six weeks, and the large crane was being used to lower six 12m-long sections of steel through the roof to create the two lift shafts.
The shafts were expected to be completed today, he said.
''Things are really taking off now. The site is very busy.
''We are certainly comfortably on schedule.''
Mr Cairns said there were about 40 contractors on site, working mainly on the ''base-build'' for the commercial office space on the ground, first and second floors.
He believed the work would be completed by the end of the year, when Silver Fern Farms would begin a fit-out of the ground and first floors before the opening of its offices in March.
Several as yet unnamed tenants would fill the second floor, he said.
''The second floor is two-thirds full of tenants at the moment. We're in the process of finalising the last third.''
Following the completion of the commercial tenancy build, Mr Cairns said work would begin on a three-level car park across the road on Bond St, and the conversion of the remaining post office floors into a 120-apartment hotel.
''It's just fantastic.
''It's great to see the progress in the building.
''People are seeing the project as quite exciting. It's finally happening.''