The Argument For The CBD Expenditure

29 Aug

It was mentioned that the problems around the CBD upgrade wasn’t consultation, it was understanding.  Every now and then when they were explaining the reasoning behind it, my head went ‘I get it’…then I engaged the non emotive part of my brain and went ‘yeah, but ……’  Cllr Dennis obviously didn’t get that bitch-slap from the functioning half of his brain as I did.

A few comments on Cracker’s blog has stirred me into regaling the reasoning they had on the night.  I hope I get it right but I sure other attendees can correct me.

The argument seemed to be predominately based on giving confidence to owners to continue with their investment in the buildings in the CBD by providing a lively and vibrant environment.   When the earthquake issue was raised it was said that if a property owner was charging $80 a sq metre for retail space and he now had to decide whether to rebuild or strengthen his at risk building he could confidently go ahead.  If the area was vibrant and lively and the council were showing they were investing in the city then the property owner would feel confident that his investment would pay off (albeit he will now have to get return on his investment and charge $450 a sq metre!)

Craig Pocock did outline varying costs and scenarios and throughout I kept thinking ‘why won’t the tenant that is told the rent will be $450 per sq metre to comply with the strengthening go to another site, possibly in a 1980’s building that doesn’t have to undergo any assessing.’

John Green of H & J Smith (in support of the upgrade) said market forces will come into play.  If that is the case won’t we end up with all the post-1976 buildings tenanted and those that undergo strengthening empty because they will be too expensive for retailers.  Only once the post-1976 buildings are full will the per sq metre price alter the market forces (in my layman view).  I could be here all day arguing against their logic.  I would like to have that discussion with Craig Pocock (and even Elder if he didn’t hold others in such disdain) but I cannot see the logic.

The assessments need to be done ASAP then we can see where our potential gaps in the CBD will be and make decisions from there.  I still fear that with 15 years to do the work, the buildings will be untenanted due to perceived risks.  Even if tenanted at the current rates the owner will have to be saving up to do the work.  Will he be bothered painting and maintaining to the normal levels when it is due to have major works done.  I know better than most about deferring work because of future plans.  When things change and those future plans change you end up with a problem of deferred work and a worse situation than before.

A two way conversation really is the only way I think I could understand it and process it but ICC don’t appreciated feedback or provide responses.

The argument for the parks was just inane.  If you are in town longer you will spend more.  We need places for families to go.  My response is Queens Park.

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4 Responses to “The Argument For The CBD Expenditure”

  1. Philip T August 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Drive down Leven Street and think how much better would the CBD be if these shops were on the main streets. What has happened is that those retailers that can afford to are building new buildings. Property in Dee and Tay Streets is worth less than the land value as people have to factor in demolition costs when purchasing property that is high hazard. It is not economic to retro strengthen buildings when you can build purpose built for the same or cheaper. There is also a scramble for larger businesses to shift from older buildings especially national chains or organisations like banks. 20 years of bad town planning is now coming home to roost and all the dressing up in the world wont work until there is a much better vision in place. The planner partially responsible for the fragmentation of the CBD now acts as a consultant so we continually fail to throw of established thinking and get back to the basics. The thing that needs to happen before anything else is to get a commitment from one large retailer or hotel operator to build something in the CBD. People often think I am dumb for thinking that but look how many sat up and followed the Warehouse along the street. To reverse that you need to have a similar reason. At the moment every bit of development is dragging people further from the CBD and we now run the very real risk of the inner city becoming a collection of uninhabitable old buildings. By the time they have all been pulled down it will be to late as everyone will be set up somewhere else.
    The council should be out there cap in hand talking with some big box retailers with an offer that cant be turned down but they are to arrogant for that.
    The other serious fault I see with the plan is failing to link Leven Street into it when that is now the main retailing area. Now we are thinking of going the opposite direction.
    Another bit of trivia is that the number one tourist attraction based on Trip Advisor feedback for Invercargill is E Hayes and Sons. Would one councillor know that?

    • Kylie August 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Well said, only in Invers is ‘retiring’ worth more than working at ICC. Leven St is definitely the place now with Mad Butcher etc…The only time I ever go to Kelvin, Esk or Don (other than ICC stuff) is to go to the bank (not often either)

      • Philip T August 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

        also interested to see you use John Greens name. His appointment to the working group coincided with the same day as his appointment as director of the ICC airport company. Some great benefits in getting close to some people like Mr Elder. I KNOW you will think that was just a coincidence but if so please tell me next weeks lotto numbers Kylie. John was primed to speak at the meeting and Elder stopped the debate straight after his bit. Some of these people need to come out and pledge their undying love for each other. Opps their undying love with the public. Opps their undying love of the publics monies. Phew never thought I would get it right.

      • Kylie August 29, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

        Oh dear…it is such a wicked web in Invers. I didn’t know but the ‘bond’ was evident between some in the committee. Man crush…?

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