Historic inner city facades to be saved

An artist's impression of the facade of the former Southland Times building which will remain in Invercargill's inner-city redevelopment. Image: Supplied

THREE historic building facades will remain in place as part of Invercargill’s inner-city redevelopment project. However, just who will pay for the restoration work is yet to be sorted.

Scott O’Donnell, a director of HWCP, the organisation behind the city centre redevelopment, confirmed this week they would save historical aspects of some buildings in the block, which would largely be demolished and rebuilt.

The three facades to be saved will be the front of the former Southland Times building on Esk St, the front of another Esk St building where the Bonsai Restaurant is situated and the front of the building on Kelvin St where Beauty and Beyond operates.

The red brick facade of the old Southland Times building would be painted to better suit the look of the rest of the buildings in the redeveloped block, Mr O’Donnell said.

“We had some very long detailed discussions [with Heritage New Zealand].

“It would be great to keep everything, but it is not possible to. Some of [the buildings] are so far gone.”

The restoration of the facades would come at an estimated price tag of $1.5 million each and Mr O’Donnell said they would try to tap into external funding options to ensure it would happen.

“There are a whole range of options. Obviously there is funders in Invercargill. There is also national funders, everything from the Lotteries, the Shane Jones fund. There is a whole lot of options to try.

“Even Heritage [New Zealand] themselves have small amounts of capital available and there are quite a few other funds that they are aware of.”

Mr O’Donnell wasn’t yet able to say how many current retailers at the site were expected to be part of the new development as they continued to work through projected rent costs.

Those retailers on the Esk St side of the block were “not far away” from what the new rental leases would be, Mr O’Donnell said. However, those on the Tay St might see a jump in rent if they wanted to be part of the redevelopment with foot traffic predicted to increase.

Rental prices would vary throughout the redevelopment depending on size and location, he said.

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