Paul Clark is scheduled to close the doors to his Zookeepers Cafe on October 16 as demolition looms for an Invercargill CBD block development.
Invercargill’s inner-city block developers are hopeful they can start demolition later this month, on what is regarded as the most significant upgrade of the CBD in the city.
The Suzie Q restaurant in Kelvin St will close its doors for good on Saturday, while the Zookeepers Cafe is scheduled to close on October 16 as demolition of the inner-city block looms.
Paul Clark opened the Zookeepers Cafe on September 13, 1991, and it was somewhat a pioneer for the cafe scene in Invercargill.
As other food and beverage establishments have come and gone in Invercargill Zookeepers has been a mainstay in Tay St during the past 29 years.
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The HWCP Management Ltd plans to demolish an almost entire block, which is enclosed by Tay, Kelvin, Esk, and Dee Sts has forced Clark to close the cafe.
Clark is still unsure if he will open up elsewhere.
Geoff Cotton, the project director for HWCP’s development, says they still have some boxes to tick before demolition can start.
However, he is hopeful it could start as early as this month, which is why businesses have been asked to vacate.
It’s understood demolition will begin towards the Kelvin St end of the block.
A contractor for the demolition has been confirmed, although further details will not be released until the Invercargill City Council provides the green light.
“Whilst we have all of the contracting and plans arranged we must await formal approval of various matters relating to the resource consent and receive a building consent for the works.
“All have been applied for and we are working with council to have these approvals released. It is hoped that these will be issued in mid to late October and demolition will commence a week or so later,” Cotton says.
Council chief executive Clare Hadley says the council is not in a position to provide a timeframe as to when it could sign-off on the building consent.
She says HWCP Management Ltd also has to meet conditions of the resource consent.
It included providing proof that it has the required funding in place.
It is effectively a matter of producing a letter from a registered trading bank highlighting the funding.
“I know they’ve got that, but it hasn’t been provided yet,” Hadley says.
“We have had some dialogue about what that [condition] means and there is a bit of a difference between the plans they submitted and the funding they have.
“So we now need to see that they have got the funding for the plans submitted, or whether in fact, they want to go for a minor variation of the [resource] consent.”
HWCP Management Ltd has made some tweaks to the initial design, including reducing the number of car parks, to cut back that the overall build cost.
The proposal was based on five investors of $20 million each, which would make up $100m of the build, with the remaining $80m of the $180m cost to come from bank funding.
However, the bank funding was capped at $50m.
The O’Donnell family (up to $25m), Invercargill hotelier Geoff Thomson (up to $25m), the Invercargill City Council (up to $30m), the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund (lending $19.5m), Community Trust South ($20m) are funding partners in the project.