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Invercargill’s licensing trust, ILT, has been building the $40million hotel through Leighs Construction for more than a year.
However, the site was locked down after Covid-19 appeared in the country.
ILT chief executive Chris Ramsay said wages still had to be paid as written in contracts.
"Time is money in this game."
While it sounded like a big number, it was a 0.3% increase, he said.
During that time, the construction company was also given approval for early procurement of core materials, which cost about $6million.
The up-front cost had come earlier than anticipated, but did not affect the overall cost.
"The board assessed whether or not it wanted to continue on with the project, and very bravely and wisely, and for the benefit of the city and community as a whole, they hit go."
The project was expected to be complete by the first few months of 2022.