Key investor leaves Invercargill project

Tim Shadbolt
Southland mayor Tim Shadbolt. Photo: ODT files
A key investor has walked away from a multimillion-dollar project to redevelop Invercargill inner-city block - but has left the majority of his funding contribution into the project.

As Otago Daily Times and Southland Express reported, HWCP Management director and businessman Geoff Thomson has resigned from the joint-venture company behind the development.

HWCP director Scott O’Donnell said Mr Thomson had resigned for personal reasons.

“Geoff has dedicated a staggering amount of time, effort, energy and care into getting this project as far as it has, and our community should be incredibly grateful to him for that. We respect Geoff’s decision unreservedly.

“This is just a hiccup, and that happens all the time in business. Our focus has now turned to Plan B and ensuring this game-changing redevelopment boxes on."

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt said earlier, when asked whether Mr Thomson had pulled out of the project: "I don't wish to comment at this stage''.

Invercargill City Council chief executive Clare Hadley said council was willing to work with the remaining equity investors and other potential funders to ensure the project is completed.

“The project remains a key part of an inner-city revitalisation which the community desires and Council is committed to.

“Councillors have also acknowledged that we will need to consult with our community should any further investment by Council be proposed.

“That is a commitment Council will not fail to realise, and we will keep all stakeholders and the wider community up-to-date as we work to achieve the city’s strategic outcomes.”

HWCP is a joint venture between ICC's Invercargill City Property Ltd and HWR Property Ltd, part of the HW Richardson Group Ltd, set up to build a covered complex for retail, entertainment and hospitality encompassing the block bordered by Dee, Tay, Kelvin and Esk Sts.

The Richardson Group, Mr Thomson and ICC had each agreed to put up to $25 million towards the $180 million cost of stage one of the development.

Other funding committed included a loan of $19.5 million from the Provincial Growth Fund and $20 million from Community Trust South.

The council also pledged $5.4million between 2017 and 2018 through its Holdco investment enterprise, Invercargill City Property Ltd.

This week, the council held two emergency meetings on consecutive days to discuss the development, one on Tuesday and one yesterday.

The public and media were excluded from both meetings.

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