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Invercargill Central Limited project director Geoff Cotton said yesterday the news Amalgamated Builders Limited (ABL) had been awarded the project would offset the recent news of Tiwai Point aluminium smelter closing.
''It's a momentous day for this project, we've had a lot of problems starting, we've had so many false starts, but now getting the main contractor on board is a big step forward.''
Funding, Covid-19 and a court order to halt demolition, had all caused delays up until now.
ABL Regional Director Bruce Middleton said he believed ABL’s long standing service to Southland and Invercargill, along with ABL’s proven ability to perform on significant projects, played a part in it being the successful contractor.
He anticipated 175 local jobs would be create either directly at the site and throughout the supply chain as a result of awarding the contract to ABL.
There would be a positive affect for other local companies, he said.
"It will also allow us, alongside our subcontractors – the majority of which are local companies, to create employment and apprenticeship opportunities, as well as provide security for existing staff who had concerns about their futures," he said.
"This project will bring many benefits to the region during the construction period, as well as long into the future. We look forward to working with Invercargill Central on this important project."
Auckland-based company MPM Projects, which also has offices in Queenstown, would project manage the build.
Mr Cotton said building on the project would start in the next two to three weeks.
It was hoped the first stage of the project which includes a carpark, retail and the Farmers building would be open in early 2022.