Demolition held up by paperwork

Demolition of an Invercargill central city block has been delayed by bureaucracy and paperwork, says a director of the company planning to knock it down.

HWCP director Scott O'Donnell said he had hoped to have the demolition under way by now, but a discrepancy in the documentation and queries from Invercargill City Council staff were delaying the process.

"We had to apply for resource consent and we thought we had all the information and funding in place, but we will need to do a bit more paperwork."

He said he hoped to solve all the remaining issues soon.

"We want to sort everything before Christmas."

The project - a rebuild of a large chunk of the city's CBD retail area - would be a "game-changer" for the whole region, he said.

The project includes the demolition of an entire block to rebuild a retail precinct with more than 40 businesses, a medical centre, office spaces and a food outlet inspired by the "Little High" in Christchurch.

The Richardson Group, businessman Geoff Thomson and the Invercargill City Council have agreed to invest up to $25 million each.

The Government's Provincial Growth Fund announced a loan of $19.5 million and Community Trust South put up $20 million. A bank loan will fund the remaining $50 million.

At this stage, Starbucks and Farmers were confirmed tenants, and negotiations were under way with several other businesses, Mr O'Donnell said.

When all paperwork was sorted, the demolition would start in sections.

He said the first area to be tackled would be the SIT and ILT's operational training hotel at Kelvin St or the car park in the middle.

The Invercargill City Council said it was "working with its partners towards successful commencement and completion of the development".

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