Extra $5 million sought from council for CBD plan

Invercargill City Council has being asked to raise its investment in the CBD redevelopment by $5million.

During a meeting yesterday, it was revealed the company behind the project, HWCP Ltd - a joint venture between the Richardson Group and the council - asked the council to raise its investment from $20million to $25million after a "shortfall of bank funding''.

In the initial proposal, the council has been asked to invest $20million as part of the $180million needed for stage 1, 2, and 3 of the development.

A further $10million contingency was included on the City Centre Block Consultation Document.

The other four investors would also invest $20million each to make up the $100million build cost.

The further $80million would come from bank funding, but this was reduced to $50million, making it necessary for the council and two other investors to "fill some of the gap from the bank''.

Council executive officer Andrew Cameron

said there were reasons for this result, including the "Invercargill factor'', ``a premium imposed on the required returns on the investment compared to developments in metropolitan areas''.

This would not have any further effect on the rates, Mr Cameron said.

During the meeting, it was also presented a report by urban designers Mike Cullen and Stuart Niven, engaged by the council to provide independent advice on what the impact of the development was likely to be on the inner city based on plans and resource consent conditions.

After a two-day workshop with the HWCP design team, they recommended few changes to the project, including a public laneway from Esk St and Tay St and changes to make the facades more attractive to pedestrians.

In their conclusion, they said the ``response does not yet deliver the wider urban relationships that benefit the city ... but the changes required are in the design detail - and easy to do''.

The meeting was adjourned and will continue tomorrow.



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