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HWCP director Scott O'Donnell provided a progress report yesterday on the project. The organisation believes this is one of New Zealand's biggest redevelopments of an established retail area.
HWCP, behind the plan for the revamped city centre,
is a joint venture between Invercargill City Council-owned Holdco and HWR Property Ltd, of which Mr O'Donnell is also a director.
He expected the consent application would be lodged with the council by July 30 and demolition of existing buildings would start early next year.
The largely undercover inner-city block design will include a yet-to-be-confirmed anchor retailer, a food court, a new HWR building, a medical centre, and 1000 car parks.
It is expected to take three to five years to build.
Mr O'Donnell suggested many of the 300 to 500 extra workers required would have to come from outside the region, given Invercargill's unemployed rate is just over 2%.
He said those extra jobs would likely stretch Invercargill's housing stocks and that was something the city would need to sort.
The developers' research pointed to Invercargill needing 600 extra dwellings to cater for the increased demand, he said.
"You think about what people are paying for rent in Auckland and what they pay construction workers.
"We are probably not paying them less, but their rent will be half as much.
"So ... Invercargill can afford to go and build something and get a return on it.
"It would be great to get the housing stock replenished.''
At the same time the city centre redevelopment takes place, the Invercargill Licensing Trust is planning to build a new inner-city hotel and the council has its sights on building a new arts and creativity centre.
The preferred option was to spend the money locally for construction costs, Mr O'Donnell said.
However, he felt the scale of what was about to happen in Invercargill meant outside companies would be needed.
"We are talking $200million for the block, plus the ILT hotel at $40 million, plus perhaps $15 million for the arts centre, so you are getting towards $300 million worth of construction. That's a big chunk.
"It's going to need multiple teams to do that, but that's a great thing for Invercargill.
"It gets people who aren't here now to come to Invercargill, and hopefully, they like what they see and stay.''
- By Logan Savory