Major construction projects bringing fresh look to city

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STAGE two of the new passenger terminal at Invercargill airport is expected to be completed by the middle of next month, about six weeks behind schedule.
The construction timeline had ‘‘slip› ped a bit’’, mainly because of poor weather in the final quarter of last year, Invercargill Airport Ltd chairman Joe O’Connell said on Tuesday.
‘‘The wet weather made things chal› lenging. But now most of the com› pletion work required is indoors [although] there is still quite a bit of work to do in the car park.’’
The project would come in on budget at $13.38 million, he said.
Stage one of the terminal, completed in June last year, has new check›in facilities, cafe, seating areas and one departure/arrival gate. Stage two will contain the baggage reclaim area, Koru lounge, offices for airport staff, meeting rooms and two more gates.
The rebuild of the terminal is among several major construction or upgrade projects either under way in the city, proposed, or recently completed.
Other projects under way or pro› posed include the upgrade of Invercar› gill prison, office and retail buildings in Deveron, Don, Tay, Windsor Sts and Victoria Ave, expansions at the Vickery Court and Clare House aged care homes, South Port’s proposed inland freight hub in Mersey St and construc› tion of a replacement Waikiwi Tavern.
Recently completed projects include Bill Richardson Transport World, McDonald’s South City, upgrades for Esk St and South City, spruce ups for the SBS Bank and House of Travel Lakers buildings, two new restaurants in Dee St and the new BP service station at the eastern entrance to the city.
Professionals Real Estate general manager Jon Irving said while there was concern about empty shops in the CBD, especially Dee St, there had been an ‘‘unprecedented level of redevelop› ment’’ across the city over the past 12›24 months which he believed would continue at least another 12 months.
‘‘The reality is Invercargill has under› gone more refurbishment and redevel› opment in this last period than it has at any period in the past 20 years.
‘‘Many tens of millions of dollars are being spent and will be spent. It is important… to reduce the need to focus on buildings which are earthquake› prone and not suitable for today’s use.’’
Mr Irving said it was true there were many empty shops in the CBD, but said: ‘‘So what?
‘‘If it was viable for shops to be there they would be there. Society has moved on. We’ve got the internet, we’ve got [shops with] car parks. They are the success stores of Invercargill.’’
Some of the new commercial/retail buildings proposed or under way were on sites which had been vacant for up to 20 years, or replaced old buildings which had been demolished, he said.
‘‘It’s a fresh new look which will set Invercargill up for the next generation or two.’’

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