INVERCARGILL’S Stirling Sports owners invested “six figures” to set up their Esk St business two years ago thinking they would be there long term.
However, the owners are now worried about their substantial investment, with the site earmarked for a new multimillion-dollar development.
Ken and Michelle Anderson set up the franchise on the south side of Esk St two years ago.
Mr Anderson said at the time the property was very run down and an earthquake risk. However, the property owner at that time, Nigel Ross, of Freehold Properties, invested in earthquake-strengthening the building to nearly 100% of the new building code and the pair signed a six-year lease with the right of renewal, a lease which he said did not include a demolition clause.
“We thought – we are set.”
The financial commitment they had made to the business, taking out a second mortgage, and the conditions of the lease they agreed to reflected that they did not expect to have to move two years in, he said.
has purchased all but three properties in the block bordered by Tay, KelviPreview (opens in a new window)n, Esk and Dee Sts with plans to demolish the block to build a covered retail, entertainment and hospitality complex.
HWCP is a joint venture between Invercargill City Property Ltd, owned by the Invercargill City Council’s Holdco, and HWR Property Ltd, part of HW Richardson Group.
“I think [the development] is going to be great for Invercargill,” Mr Anderson said.
“I don’t want to be negative, but we are not that happy with the way things have transpired.”
Mr Anderson said although he had not yet been given an exit date, they had been actively looking for new premises. However, at this stage they did not have anywhere to go.
There had been some sleepless nights for them and their staff, he said.
“It is hugely unsettling for them.”
Stirling Sports employs two full-time and two part-time staff.
Mr Anderson said he had asked HWCP what, if any, assistance would be available to help with the move, but he had not yet heard back.
“We don’t see why we should go under during this process.”
However, he was confident the situation could be resolved.
“I am concerned, but I still have some optimism we will get around the table in the not-too-distant future and our problems will be sorted.
“…but our time is running out if we are to believe January is the [date demolition begins].”
HWCP director Scott O’Donnell said they were working with their tenants to find a good outcome for all.
“Each has different contractual terms and building situations and hence there is no one size that fits all,” he said.
“We will just keep working with all parties as best we can.”