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Farmers Confirmed, City Development Ready to Start (watch video walk thru)

Aug 27, 2019
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It has been a significant work in progress to secure funding for Invercargill’s CBD development, but it seems it can finally go ahead. Farmers has been confirmed as one of the ‘anchor’ tenants, and the final funder for the first three stages was announced on Tuesday.

HWCP Management Chairman Scott O’Donnell, who is also one of the drivers of the CBD upgrade, is delighted that the long-awaited development is now at the ‘go’ stage.

“We’re excited to see the pieces of the funding puzzle starting to come together, and we’re on track to have all funding confirmed by the end of August,” he says.

The O’Donnell family, a bank loan, Invercargill hotelier Geoff Thomson, Invercargill City Council, Community Trust South and the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) were the primary funding sources of the first three stages of the development.

PGF had also funded $995,000 for a feasibility study for the CBD plan. According to that study, the development could boost Southland’s GDP by as much as $48 million per year. Southland Chamber of Commerce is “thrilled” that the Government has the “foresight and confidence to invest in the CBD project”.

“The redevelopment will have a massive economic impact on the city and region as a whole which is the purpose of the Provincial Growth Fund, and this money along with the ICC funding and the individual investors ensure the project is another step closer to breaking ground,” Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Sheree Carey says.

Community Trust South was the final funder to announce they were investing $20 million into the development on Tuesday. Chair of Community Trust South, Penny Simmonds, declared a conflict of interest on the funding verdict and was not involved with the decision-making process.

Watch an artist impression of the new city block

Trust Deputy Chair Lindsay Wright says rejuvenation of the Invercargill inner city is a key part of the Southland Regional Development Strategy to bring 10,000 extra people to the region.

“A revitalised city is fundamental to ensuring we can attract and retain people in the region.”

The final three stages of the development, with a medical centre, SIT accommodation, a civic building, and HW Richardson Group building, would be funded separately.

Both visitors and locals could expect to benefit from new dining offerings, retail stores, multi-storey car parking, a medical centre, office blocks, and apartments.

“We believe that the size of the city doesn’t have to denote its vitality and our project aims to give Invercargill its heart back,” Scott says.

Expectations are that the entire development would be finished by the end of 2022.

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