Could housing be part of CBD plans?

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    Invercargill City Council centre city co-ordinator Kari Graber would like to see more inner-city apartment living options in the CBD. Photo: Petrina Wright

    INVERCARGILL City Council (ICC) centre city co-ordinator Kari Graber is adamant more apartment living is needed in the planned CBD overhaul to ensure Invercargill is ahead of a trend.

    HWCP Ltd – a joint venture between the Richardson Group and ICC-owned Holdco – last week revealed plans for its largely undercover $200 million inner city redevelopment.

    The planned redeveloped block is between Esk and Tay Sts, bordered by Dee and Kelvin Sts.

    Ms Graber was excited by the project, but felt more accommodation in the heart of the city would future-proof Invercargill’s city centre.

    She said having people living in the city centre would help the CBD flourish, rather than the precinct emptying out outside normal work hours.

    She also felt an increasing number of people were moving away from the traditional quarter-acre section lifestyle and the growth of apartment living could help make Invercargill a more attractive place for some people to live.

    That included foreign visitors, as well as returning Kiwis who had become used to apartment living overseas.

    “People are having children later in life, or not at all. Some of them don’t want that big yard.

    “I feel like I’m always on my soap box with this, but we need to be ahead of the trend. Not just for now, but for 10, 20, 30 years’ time.”

    There are apartments pencilled into the redevelopment proposal, but they are planned for visiting guests of the Richardson Group.

    Ms Graber was confident there would be demand for permanent living in Invercargill’s city centre.

    HWCP Ltd director Scott O’Donnell said if that demand was evident they would look at making adjustments to the plans.

    “If we can see there is strong demand for it there are a few spots there that we could go and do something with. It is a matter of working out where the demand sits, we are not sure,” Mr O’Donnell said.

    Ms Graber went as far as suggesting a retirement village would also be a good option for the complex and hoped a conversation could be started with the likes of Bupa to further investigate the prospect.

    It was something Mr O’Donnell acknowledged at last week’s presentation.

    “The other great anchor tenants for American mall developments are rest homes. Able bodied people of a certain age who love health supplies, the parking, the active life.

    “When I was in Houston it was 34 degrees at 7am and of course undercover places for them to walk keeps them fit and healthy.”

    Meanwhile, HWCP Ltd has launched a new pop-up shop to provide an opportunity for the public to find out more about the plans and also share their views.

    The pop-up shop is on Esk St at the entrance to the Cambridge Place Arcade and will be open daily from 7am-7pm over the next six months.

    HWCP Ltd is also asking the public to provide ideas for a name of the new retail precinct.

    “We realise it’s important eople have a sense of input and can provide feedback on what will be the new heart of the city. As part of this engagement, we’ve created a competition for people to submit ideas on what the name of the redevelopment should be,” Mr O’Donnell said.

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