$20m figure for new hub 'very loose'

Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust chairman Dale Anderson expects to see initial designs for a...
Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust chairman Dale Anderson expects to see initial designs for a replacement for the Balclutha Memorial Hall by February next year. Photo: Richard Davison
A $20million estimate for Balclutha's new multipurpose "community hub" is "very loose", its project leader says.

Tenders for the design and build phase of the project close at the end of this month, and project trust chairman Dale Anderson said yesterday he wanted to see final costs "minimised" for Clutha ratepayers.

"Part of this next phase is for our eventual design and construction partners to demonstrate how they can deliver our vision, while creating efficiencies.

"There should be a natural overlap between original, innovative design and cost-efficiency."

Although unable to comment on the tender process in detail, he said there had been "decent" interest from applicants.

Initial designs were expected by February.

"We're very excited about this next phase, as we and the public will start to see exactly how the final facility will shape up."

The hub would replace the Balclutha Memorial Hall, built in 1962, which would be demolished and a new 3000sq m building erected.

It would include commercial office space, meeting rooms, the Clutha District Council offices, an i-Site and a theatre.

Retail and cafe spaces were also likely, Mr Anderson said.

"We intend for the hub to be fully self-supporting in future, so hopefully there's just a capital cost for ratepayers."

Anchor tenant and project overseer the Clutha District Council would foot up to half the capital costs.

Although some residents had expressed a desire for a refurbishment of the hall instead, most feedback received by the trust had been supportive, Mr Anderson said.

He believed any concerns arose from a misunderstanding of the new facility's purpose.

"This isn't just a new hall to replace the old, but much, much more.

"When we researched what was needed to take Balclutha and the district forward, we saw a demand for a multipurpose facility, including both community and commercial space. That's been borne out by the level of interest we've had from businesses and others before we've even done any real marketing.

"The potential is huge."

He said a "demanding" schedule remained on track.

Construction was earmarked for completion by January 2022, to avoid clashes with major upcoming Dunedin and Invercargill projects.

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