Chch developer pulls pin on Dunedin project

A Christchurch developer has confirmed he will sell rather than develop his deteriorating Princes...
A Christchurch developer has confirmed he will sell rather than develop his deteriorating Princes St properties. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
The sale of derelict Princes St buildings will attract local interest, a Dunedin city councillor and heritage advocate says.

Cr David Benson-Pope yesterday embraced the news the vacant block in 372-392 Princes St was going on the market as positive news for a part of Dunedin that was starting to see a surge in redevelopment.

Two years ago, he criticised the inaction of Christchurch developer Luke Dirkzwager in redeveloping the Princes St buildings, which have been empty since about 2009.

"It will be good to see this area getting attention after all the delay," Cr Benson-Pope said.

"I know there’s interest, there has been interest for a long time.

"Anyone with a vision for heritage protection ... sees that that area is screaming out for some really good redevelopment and there is lots of it starting to happen already."

The stalled development was the worst among a few in the city centre where owners had allowed buildings with heritage value to deteriorate.

Two years ago, the Otago Daily Times reported plants were growing in rotted carpet, floors had caved in and the stench of decay was perceptible from outside the buildings’ locked doors.

In 2008, Mr Dirkzwager proposed demolishing the buildings and replacing them with a five-storey building with 15 apartments and retail space on the ground floor.

The move was opposed during resource consent hearings but in 2014 he won Environment Court approval to demolish them, as long as he retained three of the buildings' four historic facades.

His resource consent is valid until 2021.

Mr Dirkzwager said the decision to sell was made simply because one of the three members in the ownership group died and the person who took over the shares did not want to continue with the project.

"It was an economical decision, to be honest, nothing else," he said.






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