Invercargill CBD developer says lockdown costing $20k a day

Invercargill inner city development. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Invercargill inner city development. PHOTO: ODT FILES
An Invercargill developer estimates it is costing the city’s multimillion-dollar CBD redevelopment project about $20,000 a day because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Invercargill Central Ltd developer Scott O’Donnell, the man behind the $146 million inner-city development, celebrated the halfway point of the redevelopment last month.

However, just a few weeks later, he and his team have had to stop the construction due to Alert Level 4.

Mr O’Donnell estimated every day his team was not in action would cost about $20,000 in staff wages, insurance, rates and other costs.

The shutdown would have an impact on the project, but it was too early to predict how it would be affected, he said.

Mr O’Donnell believed part of his team could still be working on the site if the Government had deemed construction an essential service, if companies could ensure strict and responsible guidelines on sites.

"There are a lot of intelligent ways that we could operate and minimise the risk."

Social distancing, mandatory use of personal protective equipment and sanitation of equipment were among the measures which could be potentially implemented.

He was angry the Government had had ample time to deal with vaccination issues, but had been tardy.

"If we look to the rest of the first world - England, America - they have at least 50% to 70% of all their people vaccinated.

"There is no reason why we could not have done the same."

Mr O’Donnell said his company would continue to operate following all the rules, but he was looking forward to the region moving to Alert Level 3, when construction could return.

ILT chief executive Chris Ramsey shared the same feeling.

He said the lockdown would "definitely" have an impact on the progress of The Langlands hotel which is being constructed on the corner of Dee and Don Sts.

Before the lockdown, the project was progressing well with about 85 contractors on site.

"We were starting to put the walls up, the rooms were starting to get into shape.’’

Extra cost due to the lockdown would be a "big number", he said.

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