City Property to compete more obviously in the market (their excuse: PPP)

UPDATED POST June 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

(Side bar: Let’s replicate Dunedin’s central police station in Queens Gardens, and other such crocks)
(Question of the Day: Why is a council manager empowered to speak out ahead of councillors and the chief executive? Wethinks Dave Cull has a lot to do with this. Your turn to answer, Mr Cull)
(This is a bit like GM Tony Avery speaking out on council’s need to redesignate for SH88, without telling the whole story of gross council incompetence and the likely multi-million dollar cost to ratepayers)
(It’s what you don’t say)

### ODT Online Sat, 9 Jun 2012
Council mulls public-private hotel plan
By Chris Morris
The Dunedin City Council is considering a public-private partnership that could result in a second new hotel being built in the central city.

Council seeks $15 million portfolio boost

The idea was among several being considered by the council’s city property department to increase the value of the $89 million investment property portfolio it will manage over the next few years. The proposal could result in a 60-room, three or four-star “boutique” hotel being constructed on the council’s Dowling St car park site, south of the Octagon, council city property manager Robert Clark confirmed. If approved, it would be built together with a multistorey parking building, with the estimated $15 million cost split between the council and an interested private developer, Mr Clark said. The council would build the car park and the developer the hotel, meaning the two parties would share costs and returns from the investment, Mr Clark said.

Various council departments were involved in discussing the project, but it was yet to be considered by the council’s property subcommittee – headed by Mayor Dave Cull – and would also need approval at a subsequent full council meeting.

Mr Clark said that could happen later this year, if a detailed analysis established a healthy return on investment was achievable.
Read more

Phil’s eyes-wide-open look at City Property!

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Media, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

127 responses to “City Property to compete more obviously in the market (their excuse: PPP)

  1. Anonymous

    Two words for City Property: Fuck. Off.

    Borrow $15 million to invest in property speculation? At a time when liquidating the portfolio would be a better idea? Putting MORE of Dunedin City under the control of DCC, thus further stifling external development and investment? Building an empire with our money rather than saving the ratepayer by reducing the rating burden (hint: City Property is actually underperforming for the size of the portfolio, in terms of the rates reduction).

    Liquidating the portfolio would realise sufficient to be able to pay off all Council debt and stop the pissing away of funds on interest charges.

  2. Amanda

    According to a speaker at the economic development talk the way to make business is through manufacturing, the stadium, and …construction. She said construction is the fastest way to create jobs in the short term. Not big on long term thinking; she would make an excellent councillor. The stakeholders in the economic development strategy? The uni, polytech, the employers association and , wait for it, the chamber of commerce. Yes, so all the most important groups as far as the DCC are concerned. Notice any omissions? (Democracy? what’s that?)

    • Elizabeth

      As an informed tweeter asserts tonight, PPP (public-private partnerships) are notorious for failing to deliver.

    • Elizabeth

      Amanda, it wasn’t Chanel O’Brien from EDU was it ?

      • Elizabeth

        I was looking at the public notice for the [DRAFT] Dunedin Economic Development Strategy public forum:

        Paul Orders (DCC Chief Executive) and panelists:

        Karen Bardwell (Managing Director, Select Recruitment)
        Prof George Benwell (Dean, School of Business, University)
        Gillian Bremner (CEO, Presbyterian Support Otago)
        Dr Oliver Hartwich (Executive Director, ‘New Zealand Initiative’)
        Tahu Potiki (Chairperson, Runanga Otakou, former CEO of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu)
        and others…

        If someone was talking construction (of a sort similar to Mr Clark’s bidding in ODT today) without knowing what its short-term speculative nature is – were they a DCC plant? On the other hand (or is it the same hand?), Select has a certain clientele of employers… as a placement agency they’re keen (ka-ching!) to see local work made available for building trades (until the Christchurch rebuild gets proper lift off… then where will the birds at Dunedin’s Select be left sitting ?)…
        Very interesting.

        Do spill, Amanda.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Having constructed, having a big loan to service so that something could be constructed … what then? Wouldn’t job creation be better the old-fashioned way, getting people with shovels and wheelbarrows to shift a huge heap of gravel from A to B, then back from B to A until someone has a REAL idea of a REAL product or service to create REAL jobs that EARN money instead of wasting it?

  4. I agree with Anon’s two words.

  5. Amanda

    Elizabeth, yes, was Karen Bardwell a recruitment employer who (I guess) places clients in the manufacturing and construction industry. She was also dead keen for the oil exploration but DCC’s Mr Harris torpedoed any hope of much employment for Dunedin people with that (apparently the oil folk bring their own experts and use locals as service delivery only).

  6. Amanda

    Her comments very much alerted me to the vulnerable situation Dunedin people are in if we let the ‘business folk’ rule the show in this town, their absolute overiding goal is short term profit and to heck with any long term consequences, oh, I don’t know, like massive debt for 40 years. That’s why the Chamber of Commerce and employers being included, but students, rate and rent payers, and the employed or unemployed not being included is absolutely outrageous.

  7. Amanda

    Aaron Hawkins made the last point (in more political words) just in case you thought O came up with that idea, here is the talk if you are interested.

  8. Anonymous

    Not hearing a lot of good stuff about placement agencies in this town. They seem to be more about collecting people, inflating numbers and blowing their own trumpets. There’s a lot of politics too, with one known to shaft the other at corporate introductions, and a heck of a lot of schmoozing for the “change managers”. Thing is their placements are often built on the blood of individuals. They advocate for removing permanent staff and employing their temporary placements. Look for a business thinking of shredding staff and you find these guys lurking around the HR offices. Rumour is the cost of a temporary placement is $4000 plus an hourly rate well above usual Dunedin rates. Why any business buys into their madness is beyond me.

  9. Amanda

    That makes sense, if they get a fee everytime they get someone hired, they would very much like temporary employment and short term placements.

    • Elizabeth

      Bingo, Anonymous and Amanda. And that’s why Dunedin is a lovely place to rort in, on every conceivable layer of a sinking (and rather defenceless) small town.

  10. Amanda

    Though I hasten to add that I don’t consider the recruitment industry has anything to do with creating economic development, the industry only comes along after economic development occurs. Anyone who thinks the stadium is a smart fiscal decision though really needs to realise that they lose all credibility (perhaps that is why we must ‘make it work’ because otherwise so called ‘business geniuses’ are seen to have egg on their faces).

    • Elizabeth

      On another tack, the owner of the former Chief Post Office, who has made a major capital investment, is steadily working away at building a viable business case for a hotel in what is a fickle if not depressed climate, at the same time he is carrying out building improvements (the building is now weathersealed; the owner has not mothballed the project as others might have done). Not much credit is given to his efforts by DCC, especially NOT when its Property division decides to run right up against him with plans for its own hotel (and favouring another private developer in the process). City Property should be hit on the head.

      We need to accumulate all the reputable studies we can on the failure of PPP’s – present them to each councillor and the wide media.

      On top of what has happened with the City Property announcement, I doubt Dunedin will feel any better as the result of Paul Orders’ individual efforts for this city while the DEEP DISTRUST of this council continues, from top to bottom, through and through.

  11. Amanda

    Ha you ain’t kidding, notable at the economic development were Cr MacTavish and Vandervis, but I did not notice any of the muppets responsible for the city’s debt there.

  12. Phil

    I did enjoy the read about the perceived value of the City Property portfolio. The Bunnings warehouse property in Wellington was a straight property swap with Bunnings in return for the City Property owned land on Strathallen Street now occupied by Bunnings. So the increase in the property portfolio value should be balanced by a corresponding loss in the portfolio. A zero value. The operational buildings (ie City Centre, Town Hall, etc) are required to conduct the core activities of the DCC. They can’t be sold and, if they were, alternative buildings need to be found. So those buildings really have no value. Ditto for Community Housing. That’s a core business activity. If the City Property decided to sell those units, they would then have to rent them back again. This time, however, they would have to pay the new property owner’s profit, rather than the current “break even” price. So those properties have a zero value today, and a negative value if sold.

    The great investment property bought by City Property on Dukes Road is now trying to be flogged off to anyone interested at below cost. The only thing sold there was the original farmhouse, and that required a $100k renovation before it could be sold. Since purchasing, the biggest claim to fame that industrial park has had was to provide free horse grazing for City Property staff members.

    The Miscellaneous properties include the Community Halls, libraries and sporting halls around the city. These also fall under the umbrella of core business activities so the actual sale value of those properties is questionable. Could they sell the Edgar Centre ? Then it’s worth nothing. The Edgar Centre runs at a loss every year, a loss which is paid for out of the general DCC fund. Part of that loss can be put on the rental charged by City Property. They take the rent, give it to DCC as a “dividend” who in turn give it back to the Edgar Centre to cover their losses. Same deal with the Ice Sports building. It’s a joke.

    The Railway Station was bought for $1 but has since required $3 million dollars to be spent on it in repairs and maintenance. The only long term tenant has been the Taieri Gorge train, whose costs are underwritten by the DCC. I think that the Railway Station should be in DCC hands, and should have the necessary money spent on it. It’s an important building to the city. But is it a true asset with a financial value ? Questionable.

    A fun read.

  13. Phil

    Re the potential hotel investment, there was always the unwritten rule that City Property should never get involved in the commercial property development market within Dunedin City. That rule was quietly forgotten when Dave McKenzie decided that he had to leave his personal legacy behind before legging it up Central by building the infamous Wall Street Mall. He kind of had to save face before leaving as one of his first actions when starting at City Property was to buy the old Woolworths building. He had to do something with it and he managed to cream a tidy profit for himself by resigning and becoming a privately contracted Project Manager for a project started personally by himself as a DCC employee. Nice work if you can get it.

    The reason behind City Property not investing in Dunedin property was very straight forward. All City Property staff have their salaries paid for by the ratepayers. Just as the parking Officers, Building Control inspectors, and the Librarians do. The exception to this are the Housing Officers whose salaries are paid for by the poor old pensioners living in DCC flats. For some weird reason the people who have the least are required to pay the most. Anyway, should City Property enter the competitive property market within the rates catchment area then the funding they use to do so in terms of salaries, development and maintenance costs, is being supplied in part by the very businesses that they are competing against. Doing it outside of Dunedin City is fine, there’s no direct negative impact on the Dunedin ratepayer, but to do so within the city means that the ratepayers have no choice but to pay for a business which is directly competing against them. That’s an unfair advantage that City Property has, and is just plain wrong.

    • Elizabeth

      Phil, many thanks for your last two posts which so clearly hone in on the inequities and abuse of power encapsulated by Robert Clark’s absurd self-appraisal of ‘what business’ DCC might be inspired to buy into.

      Will Dunedin business people of greater means roll over to accept this council philandering in their patch? A fair number see council for what it is – the last thing we want for them is to give up resistance or belief in what is right, or to shakily close their eyes.

      Closer to home than the stadium stickup, perchance.

      • Elizabeth

        So WHY did Robert Clark speak out? Does a staff manager push of the (council’s own) agenda really work, or is it to corner mice? [read: which councillors knew, which did not… wonder, Syd Brown, Cull and Staynes calling the shots, with Mr McLauchlan in hand?]

        ### ODT Online Wed, 13 Jun 2012
        Council manager in trouble over hotel plan
        By Chris Morris
        A Dunedin City Council manager has been hauled over the coals for revealing a possible new hotel development – part-funded by the council – to help grow its $89 million property investment portfolio. However, it appears the action against council city property manager Robert Clark was not because the details he confirmed were wrong – just that councillors did not know them all yet.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Tue, 28 Aug 2012
          Athenaeum building for sale
          By Allison Rudd
          Less than five years after it bought it, the Dunedin City Council is selling a major central Dunedin building. The Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute building in the Octagon, near the Regent Theatre, was bought in October 2007 from the Athenaeum Society for $1,130,000. At the time, the council said the land could be a potential site for an 800-seat theatre or could be incorporated into a cultural sector associated with the Regent Theatre. However, the 142-year-old building was put on the market last week and will be auctioned on September 14, unless sold before then.
          Read more

  14. Elizabeth

    Updated post.

    • Elizabeth

      ODT Online:

      Real money ?
      Submitted by topsy on Sun, 10/06/2012 – 5:26pm.

      I thought that the new CEO was supposed to be putting a stop to the ridiculous practice of “internal charging” within the DCC. The City Property staff are paid a salary drawn from the DCC general salary fund. Where does that money come from ? The ratepayers. They then “charge” their fellow DCC departments for their services. Those departments have to find the money to pay City Property for those services. Where does that money come from ? You guessed it, the ratepayers. The end result is that the ratepayers of Dunedin pay twice for the salary of one DCC employee. So the supposed profit from these services doesn’t exist. It’s Monopoly money.
      Full comment here

  15. Hype O'Thermia

    Awards for response: Orders, Steel belt. Cull, chiffon cummerbund………
    “Mr Orders said he would need to be convinced the benefits of any proposals were “iron-clad”, especially given existing council debt and prevailing economic conditions.
    Mr Cull said initiatives that could reduce council costs, or increase revenues, should be explored, but it was too early to say whether those identified by Mr Clark were worth pursuing.”

    • Elizabeth

      These will set them well apart from under-staff wearing T shirts. No cummerbund though, disguises a wobbly belly. I can recommend the maker of men’s corsetry to the emperor with no c…… (I nearly typed clout).

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    Hilary Calvert has a letter in today’s print edition of the oddity. She’s against the DCC borrowing money to spend on commercial property a la Robert Clark’s “vision”. Cr Syd Brown starts his reply with an attack on her – great grasp of relevance, that’s Syd, who’d be so crass as to call it an ingrained habit of bullying? – before going on to explain about the city’s “significant portfolio of endowment property which, by law, cannot be sold off without being invested in property to the advantage of ratepayers”.
    I cannot think of anything that would be more to the advantage of ratepayers than paying down the Fubar Stadium debt – or at least the interest so it doesn’t have to be capitalised so we end up paying interest on interest (on interest, on…. how long can this sequence go? Is it like Pi?

    I suggest that the least harmful way to employ Mr Clark’s energies is to buy him a carton of plain wooden matches, wholesale, and let him construct his “visionary” portfolio in the seclusion of his own office. When completed they could be displayed in one of the many empty commercial buildings unoccupied due to high rents demanded and in some measure by the DCC interfering in the mix with its Wall Street (for instance) in which they have to have high occupancy to make it look like it’s not a damnfool inappropriate enterprise for the council to have got into, so property rentals are negotiated in a “commercially-sensitive” (nudge nudge) way – ssshh – in other words “Don’t talk about the Wall.”

    • Elizabeth

      Sydney Brown has demonstrated defensiveness to an uncalculated degree, it’s nearly floral with the mention of yet another $66 measure (the amount per year knocked off rates payable on the ahem average value residential property of $271,000, due to the dividend received from Wall Street). Don’t know about you, possums, but whenever Sydney says the magic 66 I run for the hills. Hilary, on the other hand, will sink her teeth in.

      PS. I heard yesterday that Robert Clark isn’t about.

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    Spending more time with his family?

  18. Phil

    I’d like to know about these endowment properties that Syd is referring to. Last time I checked, which admittedly was about 6 years ago, there were no endowment properties, there was only an endowment fund. That fund was used to pay for part of the construction of the Wall Street Mall. There are no other commercial properties falling under that category. Outside of the city, the only 2 properties worth any kind of money are the Treffers Road warehouses and the Bunnings in Porirua. Treffers Road was POSSIBLY purchased with endowment funds, but Bunnings certainly wasn’t. That was a straight land swap between DCC and Bunnings. A few more details about that fantastic portfolio might be a good help, Syd.

  19. Hype O'Thermia

    Don’t hold your breath.
    Commercial sensitivity, it’s better than Papal Indulgences and what’s more it’s FREE!
    Covers a multitude of sins without streaking. Wipes off hands like magic. Any stubborn stains can be removed with Pilate Soap, famous for 2000 years.

  20. Peter

    Whoever buys it needs to give the building a decent facelift. It must have looked much better in its heyday.

  21. DaveM

    Here you can see the Athenaeum facade as architect David Ross intended it. Although it never had the statues or quite such elaborate ornamentation it did have detail in this style.

  22. Peter

    Thanks for the image, David. If only someone could restore something of this facade-especially in such a prominent place like the Octagon.A few of those ‘demolition by neglect’ owners could restore their reputations to some point, but maybe a bit naive of me.

  23. Phil

    I’m sorry, but the Athenaeum building is more than just a restoration project. It’s a complete structural rebuild. Large sections of the floor and roof structures have completely collapsed. It is suffering from major structural failure, including the facade. It has limited functioning water and electrical supply today. The local drug dealers (and other assorted groups) are operating out of the exposed basement. It’s no easy fix. Back in around 2004(ish) City Property had the opportunity to purchase the Athenaeum, for a considerable less sum than they ultimately paid. There was interest at the time as plans were underway for the redevelopment of the Regent Theatre. A major driving force behind the redevelopment project was the lack of modern toilet facilities in the theatre. The Athenaeum would have provided an alternative ground level connection which would have then been redeveloped into theatre toilets etc. However, the decision was taken by the then City Property manager, together with the GM Finance and Strategy, not to purchase the building. Instead, they decided to install a new toilet complex into the basement of the Regent Theatre. The final cost for that option was $2 million. That sounds a lot but there are major issues when constructing toilets (or anything else) below ground level in the lower Octagon. When the opportunity arose again to buy the Athenaeum, it was accepted. It was purchased purely as a “feasibility” project, to see if there was sufficient demand for a small seat theatre in the CBD. Personally, given that City Property already owned both the Regent and Fortune theatres, I would have thought that demand was already being met. However, it was bought and held, pending a decision. It has had no money spent on it apart from that required to avoid a complete collapse. I guess it could be rebuilt to look like it used to, but it’s a rebuild, rather than a restoration. At best it would be a copy. Shame.

    • Elizabeth

      Phil, um Lou Robinson’s structural engineering report says something else. The report was funded by the NZHPT McKay Bequest Fund* administered by the Otago Branch Committee. Au contraire. (you weren’t listening to Dave McKenzie were you ?)

      *[my files] “The consultant’s fee will be met by NZHPT McKay Bequest Fund, as recommended at the Otago Branch meeting in late February [2008].”

  24. Anonymous

    Demolition by institutional neglect then, there’s a metaphor for the city at large if ever I heard one…

  25. Phil

    Elizabeth, I had a walk through the interior of the building back in around 2006 (from memory). tt wasn’t flash back then.

    • Elizabeth

      The report, in effect, says the building’s condition is not as bad as feared, structurally. I’ll seek to sight the report again this week, to refresh. The report’s findings came as a pleasant surprise to all (except for those wanting the building’s demolition…).

  26. Phil

    That’s a positive step. The facade is always an unknown until you start cleaning it back, but the results can be worth the effort.

    Probably the biggest surprise with that building was finding someone living in one of the upstairs rooms. He had been living there for so long (years) that everyone else who used the building just automatically assumed that he had the right to live there. It seemed that no one had a clue who he was.

    • Elizabeth

      Haha, adds to the ‘mythology’. Somewhere I have an email that I was copied into from the late Richard Walls, about the building. Rather a large email archive, could take a while to find. You’re right that it’s not a straight ‘restoration’ job; it would be a ‘redevelopment’ with conservation/adaptive reuse/restoration components to bring the building into contemporary use, having dealt to earthquake proneness, having improved building performance, having sorted drainage…

      ‘Redevelopment’ also applied to the Dunedin Courthouse and Dunedin Railway Station projects – they’re not pure conservation projects by any means, nowhere near it.

  27. Phil

    From memory, and it’s a bit grey now, there was a large storeroom either beside or behind the small theatre in the building. That room was completely missing a floor, beams and all. From there you could look down, several metres into the basement. The basement was really just a dug out pit, which was open into the alley running behind the back of the Ra Bar and Regent Theatre. Not an especially savoury place by all accounts.

    The restoration of the Regent Theatre facade (just the front facade) cost just under $1M from memory. Possibly about half that for the Athenaeum. That was pre “earthquake strengthening” days, mind. So it’s anyone’s guess.

    • Elizabeth

      This from Richard Walls in March 2008 [extract from an email]:

      “…The basement areas are large, that in The Athenaeum is huge, the old “tutoring rooms’ and signage still existed when I was last in/down there (it must have been bloody cold most of the year even despite the numerous fireplaces). The open stormwater flumes that carry water from Princes Street would, [of] course, need to be realigned and or put underground. To be in there when it is raining quite heavily makes you wonder where all the water actually comes from. Most people do not realise just how much Princes Street and The Octagon were built up and the extensive cellars that exist in buildings erected in “the gully”.

      From what brief and informal comment has been made at council committees, any plans for The Athenaeum, Ra Bar site would see the retention of commercial activity on the frontages and The Athenaeum Library would be retained in part of it. That is just early thinking but it makes sense.

      Whatever, at this point, council bought the property to preserve the opportunity just as it did with the old DIC building. If another proves best for an 800 seat theatre then, as I said in my earlier message, the city will sell it.

      Oh yes! You may already be aware of it but a few years ago when I was on the first floor of the Ra Bar Building (when Zoom were there), I was intrigued to find that the above veranda canopy frontage was bolted back into the original structure, presumably through the brick as some was quite visible in the gap between the two when one looked into the seemingly ‘unfinished ‘spaces of the window frames. I would doubt whether any of the original ‘ornamentation’ is still there though!



      • Elizabeth

        ### DScene 12.9.12 (page 7)
        Save treasured Athenaeum
        By Aaron Hawkins
        Recently, and with very little fanfare, Dunedin City Council put The Athenaeum building in the Octagon up for sale, assigning it to the auctioneer’s hammer this Friday, September 14.

    • ### ODT Online Thu, 23 May 2013
      Most DCC buildings strong, study finds
      By Debbie Porteous
      Dunedin people should feel assured the council-owned buildings they are most likely to use are seismically strong. Structural assessments have been completed on more than a dozen public buildings, with almost all above 67% and most above 100% of the seismic resistance standard required for new buildings. Preliminary assessments also show the Dunedin Railway Station and Port Chalmers Town Hall are at 67% of the standard, but full assessments are under way. More modern council buildings already assessed are all above 100%.

      The Regent Theatre fares the worst of the council’s historic buildings assessed, but is still above the 33% minimum strength requirement.

      Full assessments on the gasworks, about 30 community halls, two sports stadiums and operational buildings owned by the council are still to come. Buildings are required to be at least 33% of the seismic resistance standards required for a new building. Councils at present have discretion on how the regulations are enforced, but that is expected to change this year with the introduction of new rules requiring buildings to be upgraded in certain time frames.
      Read more

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    Whatever one may say about Richard Walls and his energetic support of the stadium, he has left a precious legacy thanks to his writings on many many subjects relating to the city. He had his own points of view but was generally honest enough to make them obvious, and his clear memories informed later discussions as seen in this. Thanks Elizabeth for re-posting. Institutional memory seems to have been clear-felled, leaving successive politicians, “visionaries”, department managers and consultants a clear field on which to pitch their hucksters’ tents and sell yet another ill-conceived (St Clair ramp) costly unworkable shiny-thing.
    Thanks, Richard. You often pissed me off but at least YOU weren’t a full time waste of oxygen back when you were using it. Unlike ____ insert names here.

    • Elizabeth

      Richard was a great blogger was he not, here and elsewhere. He never ran scared. He was refreshingly ready to pounce! In parallel, I have 262 of his emails, some in banter, some informational, some in jest, some explosive (UPPER CASE).
      Memorable. My father came to know Richard as a young lad (age 4 and older) visiting his grandparents at Waikouaiti; later for a patch they were both councillors, Richard at DCC, my father at WCC and SPCC (Waikouaiti County Council; Silverpeaks County Council)… an ‘intergenerational’ association, so it was. As for the current bunch….

      *My father NEVER liked DCC. Always polite to Richard, I know what he really thought. And I know what I really thought.

  29. Peter

    ‘…some explosive (UPPER CASE).’ A good neutral word, ‘explosive’. One that gives a tantalising feeling of his real thoughts on different matters and not just ‘politician speak’. Michael Guest also could be relied on to ‘say it as is’. In his mind. Like Richard.

  30. Calvin Oaten

    My goodness but memories do fade very quickly. Richard, it seems is ready for beatification in the eyes of some. For me, he was just an ordinary politician frought with all the usual insecurities and bluster which manifested itself in many ways. If you were ever on the off side of his tongue you would know what I mean. A nice enough bloke really, who unfortunately stayed too long, and as a consequence fell into that delusion of believing in his infallibility. Like the Pope.

  31. Hype O'Thermia

    Not beatifying, Calvin, just giving credit where it’s due. Richard had opinions, he also had a long memory and/or good records. He was no saint but what he did that was well above the average councillor lay in his readiness to make his views, reasons, biases and the facts and “facts” with which he justified them, public through blogging and emails. Who knows what goes through the -ahem- minds of Neil Collins, Bill Acklin et al when they support ditzy spending on our behalf? Guest had a well-known for years record of dodginess even before being struck off, we had – those of us who bothered to keep up – fair warning that he couldn’t be trusted but was good at framing arguments in his favour. Richard, I think, was for a politician well-motivated towards the city – doesn’t mean he was right in what he decided was best for it. We have a monstrous monument to misled, mistaken and mindless pricks to demonstrate that, in the erection down the end of Anzac Avenue.
    I value those pieces of information that Richard presented, that are lost to institutional not to mention public memory. Likewise when someone re-posts something that came up a few years ago it’s valuable because it’s so damn easy to forget what happened previously, and then go on to make the same mistakes. Or take one’s attention away from people whose record in the past makes them worthy of constant careful attention in case they do the same dumb/harmful things again.

  32. Peter

    ‘We have a monstrous monument to misled, mistaken and mindless pricks to demonstrate that, in the erection down the end of Anzac Avenue.’ Richard Walls, of course, was a key player for this monstrous monument. Fact. Not ‘own facts’!

  33. Hype O'Thermia

    You noticed that I signalled the difference between factual-facts and “facts” as in “strongly held beliefs”……..
    ……and did not suggest that Richard Walls was not a key player in the stadium disaster, nor that in his other decisions he was always right. No, where I think he deserves credit is his readiness to put his reasons forward, including his support for the stadium, and in OTHER matters also put forward his ideas and his knowledge of what had happened before. We knew where he stood and what he saw as the good reasons for building the stadium. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and it’s a pity he didn’t listen and ponder as readily as he contributed his own views. But he stood up and took the arguments and abuse, he actually HAD reasons that he could and did put into words, and while this did not improve the outcome for the city it at least showed he wasn’t chorusing “aye” when someone pricked him with a pin on a stick.
    I don’t know where Mayor Cull stands or why. Nor Crs Hudson, Thomson, Collins etc etc. Do they have any background knowledge, any grounding, any remembrance of what went before here and in comparable situations elsewhere? Are they making it up piecemeal, each day anew like in the joke about Alzheimers – you meet such a lot of new people several times every day.

  34. Peter

    Personally, I was never in doubt where any of the original pro stadium councillors stood. It was there in the voting record and chorused around the council table, and elsewhere, often enough. Walls and Guest were just more belligerent about their pro stadium stand. I think they got dumped because they had well and truly gone past their use by date. Not just their stadium views. Greater Dunedin (largely) changed tack even before the last election as there were indications that they were prepared to throw more money into the stadium ‘to make it work’. Of course, we are now looking at throwing more money in – changing the turf being yet one more item of new expenditure WE have to carry… with no contribution expected from the rugby crowd or other users. What’s the next item for stadium expenditure after this one? It will never cease. Even a moron should know that. Yet there is still the naive belief the stadium can become viable with a bit more tinkering.

    • Elizabeth

      Greater Dunedin are rubbish. If there’s no GD policy that is clearly espoused, which the public can read and understand (and on which they’re tested and held to account), then what’s the point. It’s not enough to use the ‘Greater Dunedin’ label to reduce individual candidate campaign costs across the metropolitan ward and the rural wards.
      Ineffectual mayor. ‘Lesser Dunedin’ councillors. They can’t read a balance sheet. They’re ripping us off. They support ORFU well enough to – as a council – ROB the Dunedin community blind, in support of PROFESSIONAL RUGBY (eg ORFU bailout package, DCHL and subsidised stadium events). They also keep Stuart McLauchlan in the DCHL fold. What a mistake. And the mayor selected Sydney Brown, the foremost manipulative conflicted Robber Baron councillor, to be the chairman of the council’s Finance, Strategy and Development committee. What a sleazy, imprudent thing to do. We know, Greater Dunedin have brains the size of peanuts; their inexperience, obfuscation, deception and lack of transparency (Cull campaigned on transparency and accountability) is a reason to see to their complete demise in 2013. Or we cultivate more grassy knolls in the Octagon for pest control.

  35. Anonymous

    Isn’t it bizarre we are still funding rugby? How did it get so screwed up that no one has yet said no to these bludgers. It’s never was and is still not council business. This council is corrupt and its continued support is criminal.

  36. Rob Hamlin

    I return once again to the current condition of Carisbrook. There is a reason for it. Comments have been made – Messages have been sent – Still no explanation has been forthcoming.

    • Elizabeth

      CARISBROOK PITCH — (timeline) Comments at ODT Online and Tweets:

      Rob HamlinHave you looked at Carisbrook recently? 25/08/2012 – 8:19am.

      farsightedCarisbrook pitch Mon, 27/08/2012 – 11:56am.

      ej kerrCarisbrook pitch Mon, 27/08/2012 – 3:14pm.

      @10PARK @DnCityCouncil Why is the pitch at #Carisbrook being maintained in such good condition, ahead of the property sale? Mon, 27/08/2012 – 4:43pm.

      [bullshit answer] @DnCityCouncil @10PARK Re Carisbrook pitch. We maintain all the assets we manage & it’s good for the sale process to have things tidy. Cheers. Wed, 29/08/2012 – 11:40am.

      @10PARK @DnCityCouncil Um, you can imagine my glee at your very broad statement – now just let me check my council asset list & condition reports… Wed, 29/08/2012 – 12:09pm.

      Immaculate? Thu, 30/08/2012 – 4:51pm.

      Rob HamlinI stand by my description Thu, 30/08/2012 – 8:00pm.

      StekelmollCarisbrook turf Thu, 30/08/2012 – 9:21pm.
      Is it intended that NZ or South Africa use Carisbrook as a training venue ahead of the test match on 15 September? Pure speculation on my part, but it would seem a logical explanation.

  37. Peter

    Rob. I don’t think the tidy appearance of Carisbrook is that significant. I am prepared to accept the council’s view on this (as above), for the meantime, until proven wrong. I think they know full well we can’t maintain two stadiums ad infinitum. The lights are now gone, so it would obviously be useless for night time rugby which the rugby calendar usually dictates.
    Also, there would be an ongoing schedule for asset management whatever its sale/non sale status.
    I doubt whether there will be a sale any time soon. An industrial estate? (Meanwhile they are dismantling Hillside and support industries and we have a love affair for Chinese products because they are cheaper.) Supermarket/ Shopping Mall/ Big Box development? As if we are not already overloaded with them given our population base. The corner dairy seems to have been replaced with the corner supermarket!

  38. Rob Hamlin

    The problem with waiting and doing nothing until you are proven wrong is that by the time that you are proven wrong matters have invariably proceeded beyond the point of no return (almost a definition of being proven wrong).

    This quasi-legalistic ‘proof before action’ behaviour pattern has crept into a great deal of our public analysis and decision making recently, and the ‘stakeholders’ worldwide have taken full advantage of it. Neville Chamberlain, and others, decided to believe that A. Hitler was a nice man until he was proven wrong. Were they ever, in the end, on September 1, 1939 – Pity really.

    Given the potential expense of being ‘proven wrong’ in this situation, a cautious council would make sure that this facility was definitively ‘dead’ before doing anything (such as the DCC seriously considering a proposal to put in an artificial pitch) that gave the ORFU and Highlanders the political opportunity to initiate a process to exit the Stadium that was primarily built for them – Otherwise it could act as a convenient ‘bolt hole’ and basis for a yet another bogus economic impact case with full multimedia support, this time based on two Stadia.

    I do not think that new lights for Carisbrook would represent much of an obstacle once that bandwagon seriously started to roll – Merely a fortuitous opportunity to upgrade this aspect of the Stadium along with all the others, methinks.

    The big advantage of acting on reasonable risk rather than a legal level of proof is that if I am wrong, and Carisbrook has no such plans for it, and simply gets flattened slightly earlier than it otherwise would have done – at least the process doesn’t cost the community several tens of millions of real dollars – Unlike waiting to be proven wrong the other way.

  39. Peter

    I may have missed an earlier discussion, Rob, but why do you think the ORFU and the Highlanders would want ‘the political opportunity to initiate a process to exit the stadium that was primarily bought for them’? Given that they don’t pay for using either stadium, what’s in it for them to move back to the so called ‘tired and old’ Carisbrook?

  40. Calvin Oaten

    Comment sent to relevant thread. -Eds.

  41. Hype O'Thermia

    Grater Dunedin is a spelling mistake that should have been corrected before the election.
    Grating away at Dunedin’s material >> social wellbeing until there’s only a tiny pinhead left of what had been the size of a Moeraki Boulder. But it’s not their fault, we must be fair towards people with disabilities e.g. dyslexia, it’s discriminatory to bar them from careers such as preparing billboards for political parties. And having someone forever looking over their shoulder going picky-pick-pick would be bad SO bad for their self-esteem.
    Another injustice is criticising Grater Dunedin for the DCC’s continued spending on the Fubar Stadium. They plainly said they would spend enough to “make it work”.
    It’s not working so they’re going to keep on spending till it does. What’s wrong with that – you want them to break promises or something?

  42. Robert Hamlin


    Why Carisbrook – What’s greener?

    1) The grass is better.
    2) They don’t have to share (and track record vis a vis cricket as a sole other user of Carisbrook shows that they don’t like to).
    3) The thing would be a dedicated Rugby facility with a base structure that is basically sound not an incomplete, cheapjack (sorry, cost driven) supposedly multipurpose lash up (see previous comment about not sharing).
    4) They very likely wouldn’t have to pay per event to use it – Note recent Highlanders moans about Foobar non-availability for training.
    5) Half the town doesn’t have to be isolated/diverted at God knows what cost every time they decide to have a match.
    5) As to whether the stadium was built for them, one has to consider if the primary purpose of the Foobar exercise was the provision of a rugby facility or making money for a small group of highly motivated backers as its main objective (with the provision of something that looked like it might possibly be a rugby facility as a means to that end). Note that both rugby organisations avoided committing to any kind of ongoing tenancy for this supposedly state of the art, built for them structure – This might or might not be telling you something about their appreciation of it.

    • Elizabeth

      (Left field, or far side ?) Remember back to the idea once promoted as an option for Carisbrook’s future use… how to replace playing fields lost to coastal erosion!

      (ODT 24.7.12)

      “The first 300m of the wall might be put in place in five to 10 years, while the rest, mostly behind Middle Beach, will go up in 10 to 50 years, if monitoring over the next five years shows walls are a better option than a managed retreat.”

      “Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said a wall behind Middle Beach was the preferred option, because a managed retreat would likely threaten sports fields at Kettle Park, but both options were still on the table. Which one went ahead would depend on the result of monitoring over the next five to 10 years. Costing the wall would happen in the next few years, so if part of it was needed in five to 10 years, plans would already be in place. Those who used the sports fields at Kettle Park would be kept informed about how things were developing. The plan was adopted unanimously, along with a resolution proposed by Cr Theresa [sic] Stevenson, noting options for relocation and alternative reserve use be considered separately as the situation developed.”

      This doesn’t stop the corporate boxes going to Eion (Queenstown Events Centre), or the Good Old Boys of Otago Cricket (Oval, Logan Park). Other Carisbrook demo can still happen. This ‘kind of’ implicates Dunedin Rugby Football Club, Sport Otago, and others who will never stop empire building. And, don’t forget, Dunedin ratepayers still have a swimming pool to build at Logan Park, next to the freaky loss-making multipurpose stadium!

      Is “CULL for Carisbrook” the ultimate 2013 local body election campaign ?

  43. ormk

    Well if the valuation was $7 million we should be getting a $700k annual income for it or getting very close to the valued price pretty damn sharp.

  44. Calvin Oaten

    Rob; as you have already alluded to in the past, probably the cheapest long term cost would be to shut the stadium down/up, turn off the lights, fire all the DVML people and hangers on. That way the known fixed cost is the debt. That would probably come in at around $11-12 million pa. In a word a sunk cost. Give Carisbrook back to the ORFU for $1. Tell them that they are on their own, don’t ever come back to the city with outstretched hands. Over the next 20 to 30 years the citizens would just have to carry the debt. At least it would be fixed. As it is, the costs are as outlined plus operating costs depreciation, which it would not be difficult to see at around $20 million pa or thereabouts. Put like that, it is a no-brainer. And who knows, someone (University / Polytechnic or Government) might come along with an offer we couldn’t refuse. Chances? A very long shot at best.

  45. amanda

    Ah yes. The lucky lucky individuals who happened to own the land that the stadium was built on. Those winners who made the correct choice by buying the land for mere thousands and then miraculously sold it to the DCC for $32 million so the stadium could be built. Wonder if the ORT will do some investigative journalism to find out why the stadium was built, if Big Boy Rugby hasn’t benefited from the stadium, who has? Note, by ‘benefit’ I mean who has made millions? Find that out and you have the true shakers and movers in this town.

  46. Hype O'Thermia

    “Note that both rugby organisations avoided committing to any kind of ongoing tenancy for this supposedly state of the art, built for them structure,” wrote Robert Hamlin. From their point of view, why would they? Why lock themselves into a contract, when there is no need? The Fubar Stadium was built and the ratepayers were sold this pup with promises of missing out on the best rugby if they didn’t pay up.
    So where’s the competition for using the Fubar – for anything, let alone rugby?
    Without the risk that someone else could nab their place if they didn’t sign up – why sign up? It’s not like it’s a high-demand flat with great party history, 3 minutes from lecture theatres.

  47. Brian Linnekens

    Nice and very informative post. You have shared important facts regarding property development, it’s really useful. Thanks for sharing.

  48. Peter

    I seem to remember Robert Clark got into a spot of bother some months ago and had to be hauled in, but can’t remember what it was about now. Something similar, I think. Good on Paul Orders for doing the decent thing and allowing for the proper process to take place.

  49. Anonymous

    There’s a problem here, surely.

    City Property Manager was permitted to make the sale (presumably by direction of Property Subcommittee – Cull, Brown, Staynes and Bezett).

    *something happened*

    Chief Executive directed City Property Manager to put the sale on hold until Council could make a resolution.

    Hold on there, bald eagle.
    a) what was the something that happened?
    b) on whose authority is the Chief Executive acting?
    c) why is Council making a resolution when it has already delegated authority to a sub-committee?

    This Council is, as the last one was, not only not transparent, but is open to capture. This Council should be dissolved and a Commissioner appointed.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 14 Sep 2012
      Building pulled from auction
      By Chris Morris
      Dunedin City Council staff have been forced to scrap the planned auction of the Athenaeum building in the Octagon, just a day before it was due to go under the hammer. The 142-year-old building was to be sold today, after council city property manager Robert Clark last month said it was “surplus” to council requirements. Instead, the decision to shelve the planned auction was confirmed by council chief executive Paul Orders in a media statement yesterday. He said the decision was made because no formal resolution authorising the sale of the building had been passed by the council, and councillors needed more time to “fully consider its future”.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        Farry better not be in the picture wanting the Athenaeum for demolition, as he did previously. Look at the extremely poor state of his building immediately south of Alibi on Princes St. Clearly that one is still earmarked for demo/redevelopment; with the Athenaeum it forms an L-shape around Alibi – last time, Farry pitched these for a single hotel development. But hey, there’s “Mr Colliers” banging on about demand for “modern office space” in the news this week. Hardly a coincidence.

      • Elizabeth

        Dunedin City Council
        Media Release

        Athenaeum Withdrawn From Market

        This item was published on 13 Sep 2012.

        The Athenaeum has been withdrawn from the market to give Dunedin City Councillors time to fully consider its future.

        The Octagon building had been advertised for sale, but the Dunedin City Council today withdrew the property from the market.

        Council Chief Executive Paul Orders says the Property Subcommittee had agreed in April that a report be prepared on the strategic options around the Athenaeum, but this had not occurred. Consequently, there is no formal resolution from the Council to sell the building.

        Staff are preparing a report on strategic options around the Athenaeum.

        Once Councillors have had time to consider the report, the intention at this stage is to call an extraordinary meeting to discuss the building’s future.

        Mr Orders says it is important to ensure Councillors have an opportunity to fully consider the options, in line with the resolution passed previously.

        Contact Robert Clark. Manager City Property on 477 4000.

        DCC Link

        • Elizabeth

          This ’emptied tenancy’ has been the (snarly) talk of George St clothing outlets for some weeks.
          (further, Esprit clothing lines, sizing and pricing at Dunedin haven’t proved attractive; the lack of quality has been in sharp contrast to what we remember of their stores from the 1980s onwards)

          ### September 14, 2012 – 5:52pm
          Early change of tenants has not cost the city money
          The Dunedin City Council says an early change of tenants at its Wall Street mall in George Street has not cost the city money. A street front store left empty recently by Esprit has been taken over by international fashion label, Forever New.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Sat, 13 Oct 2012
          $60k bill to strengthen glass ceiling
          By Chris Morris
          The Dunedin City Council is facing a $60,000 bill to strengthen the Wall Street shopping mall’s glass ceiling and protect against further spontaneous glass explosions. It has also emerged other Dunedin building owners could face similar bills for buildings constructed before regulations were toughened two years ago. The concern comes after two men – one in a wheelchair – escaped injury despite being showered with falling glass fragments when a ceiling panel spontaneously shattered inside the Wall Street mall in April.
          Read more

        • Hilary Calvert, of Dunedin, believes Dunedin City Council returns from the Wall Street mall are much less than ratepayers have been led to believe.

          ### ODT Online Wed, 3 Apr 2013
          Wall Street – a cautionary tale
          By Hilary Calvert
          OPINION In 2006 our Dunedin City Council decided to develop a mall linking the former Penroses building with the Golden Centre to provide under-cover shopping, protection against Dunedin’s inclement weather, and to maintain the retail presence in the heart of Dunedin. In late 2006 some citizens appealed against the proposal, saying areas of the city struggling to stay viable would become increasingly saggy-baggy if the city added further unneeded retail and office capacity. They also suggested the project made no commercial sense. The city listened and immediately dropped two floors off its plans. […] In October last year the manager of Dunedin City Property was quoted as saying: ”The decision was made to invest in relatively low risk commercial and industrial property. We’ve set a minimum return at the moment of 8% net for the whole portfolio.” Still the doubts persisted. Questions were asked of the city through the Official Information Act. Much correspondence was entered into. And then came the real story:The city had forgotten to include the land in its figures.

          It turns out The Wall Street development actually has a return of some 5.5%, less than the cost of city borrowing.

          The position was in fact probably even worse, as there is no information in the city figures about tenant inducements, fit-outs and vacancy risk, all costs usually taken into account.
          Read more

          Wall Street mention:
          21.5.11 ODT Online: Land, lots of land (Saturday magazine feature)

          But Mr Broad’s main bone of contention is with the council’s own forays into such commercial developments as Wall Street in George St. He describes Wall Street as “a complete failure” and a “financial disaster” that has contributed to an increase in vacant premises along George and Princes Sts.

          “The vacancies are not too far off the area of additional retail space the city has built. Unfortunately, the city council has not quite grasped the idea that if you build something new in an environment where there’s no growth, then something falls off the edge.”

          “It’s a bit special, isn’t it, really, the city getting precious about the streetscape … whilst completely ignoring their own streetscape rules in the construction of Wall Street. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.”

          He accuses the council of stalling private development of commercial space by creating new space itself.

          “In order to justify a new building you would need to be getting somewhere between $300-$400 a square metre [in rent]. The top rents in Dunedin are about $250 a square metre, so the [council] are the only people who are stupid enough to be creating office space. If you look at the Dunedin skyline now, there are about four cranes in the air, all put there by the city. Nobody else is stupid enough to be building additional space in the current market.”

          Wall Street — Related Posts and Comments:
          Comments: 13.8.12 Calvin Oaten, and others at [post] 26.12.10 Historic heritage notes

          Comments: 18.7.12 Elizabeth at [post] 28.6.12 DCC: The lowdown on scooting

          Post: 9.6.12 City Property to compete more obviously in the market (their excuse: PPP)

        • More divestment by City Property, nudge nudge wink wink – see PPP via Ngai Tahu, OP and Cull’s ethno-cultural persuasions.

          ### ODT Online Wed, 21 Aug 2013
          $20 million student hostel planned
          By Chris Morris
          Dunedin’s financial fortunes could be looking up, with confirmation Ngai Tahu is planning a $20 million student hostel in the city. The investment could be just the tip of the iceberg, with suggestions the tribe was planning to invest nearly $300 million across the South Island – including more in Dunedin projects – in the years ahead.
          Councillors endorsed the move in a non-public part of Monday’s full council meeting, although public consultation would be required before the council approved the deal later this year.
          Read more

        • Ngai Tahu plan to build a hostel, with up to 235 rooms, on land beside Logan Park by the beginning of 2015.

          ### ODT Online Thu, 22 Aug 2013
          Public consultation on $20m hostel soon
          By Chris Morris
          A $20 million student hostel to be built for Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin will be an apartment block of up to four storeys, Ngai Tahu Property staff have confirmed. But first, members of the public will get to have their say on the sale of park land for the project, through a public consultation process expected to begin within weeks, council staff say.
          Council infrastructure and networks manager Tony Avery, speaking on Tuesday, said consultation was a requirement because the property was designated as park land under the Local Government Act.
          Read more

        • ### ODT Online Fri, 27 Sep 2013
          Sale of land for $20m hostel nears settlement
          By Chris Morris
          The Dunedin City Council is poised to finalise the sale of land to Ngai Tahu needed for a $20 million student hostel. The council on Monday ended a public submission process on the proposed sale, which attracted just one submission, in favour of the deal, council economic development and property group manager Robert Clark said. The submission would be reviewed by council chief executive Paul Orders before the sale process was concluded once other conditions of the deal with Ngai Tahu were met, Mr Clark said. That was expected to happen by late November, he said.
          Read more

        • ### ODT Online Sat, 8 Feb 2014
          Ngai Tahu eyes second project
          By Vaughan Elder
          Nagi Tahu is considering spending more of its millions in Dunedin, with the iwi looking at building a second student hostel in the city. The news comes after it was revealed last year Ngai Tahu Property planned to build a $20 million hostel for Otago Polytechnic on a $2 million piece of surplus council land on the edge of Logan Park.
          Read more

        • Wall Street Mall to be redeveloped for Fisher & Paykel. A PPP with F&P. No wonder the junket babies to China intend to meet with F&P’s parent company Haier.

          The whiteware company wants to extend its existing lease of office and laboratory space in the Dunedin City Council-owned Wall Street complex in George Street. This is to provide the design and call centre with capacity for a total of 230 staff, enabling the continuation of a growth plan that will see a 40% increase in design staff numbers by 2018.

          The expansion means the DCC will invest up to $2.3 million to provide extra office space in the Wall Street complex (including a break through to the Penrose building), upgrade the Penrose building, make a contribution to tenant relocation costs. It will receive additional rental.

  50. Peter

    Talking about Colliers. Where has the general manager, Stephen Cairns-ex ORC Chairman- gone? He no longer seems to be listed in the company staff list here in Dunedin.Need to keep on eye on that one.

    • Elizabeth

      Formerly(?) the principal of Colliers International (Dunedin)… who knew, Stephen Cairns still has his own investment company, do we think he retired to Eiontown too ? Dean Collins is the Colliers mouthpiece presently. Maybe the scary thought of ‘investigations’ will send more of the ilk to ground. Ahh, pure unfounded supposition directed at the aging old boys who’ve made their $killing.

      Athenaeum sale listing as it was….

      [excerpt, below – there are several things wrong with the ‘outline’ listing, which an experienced realtor would normally do their homework on, to avoid — where do I start….]

      Octagon Opportunity, “The Athenaeum.” For Sale By Auction
      For Sale
      The Athenaeum
      23 The Octagon

      A unique opportunity in the heart of Dunedin’s premium hospitality precinct.
      Three tenancies currently in place, generating a holding income of approximately $63,500pa, plus GST.
      The building has large vacant areas and has huge upside and development potential.
      Land parcel of 1022m2 and a floor area of approximately 1600m2, split over three floors.
      This is the first time the building has been on the open market in over 140 years.

      For Sale by Auction, 11am, Friday 14 September 2012, The Chancellor Room, The Mercure, 310 Princes Street, Dunedin (unless sold prior by private treaty).

      For further details please contact:
      Dean Collins
      Dunedin Office
      Mobile: +64 (274) 990-974

      Bill Brown
      Dunedin Office
      Mobile: +64 (274) 315-058

      Peter Gale
      Dunedin Office
      Mobile: +64 (21) 608-107

  51. Elizabeth

    ### October 9, 2012 – 04:35pm
    How and why Dunedin City Council has an investment property portfolio with properties outside Dunedin
    By Gareth Vaughan
    If you’re a Dunedin City Council (DCC) ratepayer you could be forgiven for not knowing that your council runs an investment property portfolio on your behalf. The portfolio, valued (by registered valuers) at just under NZ$96 million as of June 30, and carrying NZ$16 million of debt, owns properties not only in Dunedin, but also in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. It receives scant coverage in the council’s annual reports and it can’t be found online. Furthermore, it’s not part of Dunedin City Holdings, under whose umbrella many of the council’s assets are held.

    A governance review of Dunedin City Council released earlier this year by consultant Warren Larsen suggested governance around the property investment portfolio should be reviewed, noting an internal document he had seen contained such a proposal.

    The Larsen report also noted that given the DCC coughed up NZ$162.7 million to help fund the Forsyth Barr Stadium, DCC and Dunedin City Holdings’ combined forecast debt peaks above NZ$700 million in 2014, up 75% from 2010’s figure of NZ$400 million.

    Read more

  52. Phil

    Good positive report. A bit of a creative thinking list of “investment properties” which include the DCC operated car parking buildings, buildings purchased on behalf of the Water/Waste department for demolition, Delta’s site, and the bus depot. Slightly overstated the endowment fund contribution, that applies to some of the properties, but not to all. Otherwise it was good.

  53. JimmyJones

    Phil mentions that the two upper floors of Wall Street were deleted from the original design because City Planning didn’t like them. Even if these were only carparking and offices, this would have provided revenue. The loss of this revenue may have changed this project from being a net benefit to the city, to being another DCC business failure: another financial drain on the city’s stretched finances. The DCC has a growing proportion of loss-making businesses. The average councillor doesn’t understand money, and I doubt that they are aware of the damage that their decisions have caused. We can hope for an improvement, but much more than hope is needed.

    • ### ODT Online Tue, 14 May 2013
      ‘Major concerns’ over Wall St causeway cost
      By Chris Morris
      Dunedin City Council staff have ”major concerns” about the cost of displaying the fragile remains of a historic pedestrian causeway under glass inside the Wall Street mall. The timber remains – believed to date back to the 1850s – were unearthed during construction of the mall in 2008, and some were to be displayed inside a glass case built into the mall’s floor. The rest would form part of an exhibition inside Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, once a chemical treatment and water-removal process was completed. Council city property assistant property manager Rhonda Abercrombie told yesterday’s council budget deliberations meeting the restoration process was ”virtually completed” and the timber would be ready for display within months. However, council staff now had ”major concerns” about using an existing glass cabinet built into the mall’s floor, which was intended to house a preserved part of the causeway.
      Read more

      Aside, the oculus set in the mall floor was always badly designed; there’s no mobility access to the feature and there’s really bad circulation around the sunken floor area itself which adds up to dead space – not helping foot traffic to the two retail outlets at the rear of the ground floor (women’s fashion and a pharmacy) or navigation to the escalator in the pharmacy taking people up to Filleul St.

  54. ### ODT Online
    Council might buy school
    By John Lewis on Thu, 26 Sep 2013
    New housing could pop up in the Forbury area if the Dunedin City Council goes ahead with its plan to buy the former Forbury School site. Mayor Dave Cull said the school closed in December 2011 and, soon after, the Methodist Mission created a hub on the site which now services more than 600 families in South Dunedin.
    The Methodist Mission told the council it had concerns the school would eventually be sold and it would not be able to continue its service from the site, he said. It was one of several issues that caused the council to express an interest in the property, the mayor said.

    ”The DCC recognises the importance of their work in the community. We want to protect the services that the Methodist Mission provides. We also have Dunedin City Council housing next door. We recognise the potential for building more on the site. It is also an opportunity for urban renewal – buying the site might be the catalyst.” –Mayor Cull

    The council owns housing in Kirkcaldy St, Melbourne St and Oxford St, all in close proximity to the former school.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Yay, investing in real estate again. Great plan, especially when you’re broke and you don’t have any particular plan or need for it, just a kind of, well it’s there and we could, um, use it for, um, like, something.

      Come to think of it, could have kept Carisbrook instead of flogging it off at yet another loss piled upon losses.

  55. Again, Cull can’t resist the idea of spending more money he doesn’t have. This suggestion of his to buy a property in case he gets “the opportunity for urban renewal – buying the site might be a catalyst”, is a classic example of “it would be nice thing to do”. Doesn’t he realise that he and his recent predecessors have done nice things “up to OUR ears?” With Paul Orders leaving a ‘hiatus’ between CEOs, if Cull is re-elected with the GD team it will be ‘all systems go’, and hang the consequences.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Ooh look, a shiny thing! And Dad’s not here to stop me putting it on the family credit card that I’m “looking after” because when he’s away I’m supposed to be the Man of the Household, and do the lawns without being asked.

  56. See comment by John P.Evans on latest pronouncements by City Property during the Draft Annual Plan meetings at DCC last week as reported by ODT.

  57. So the DCC is to invest an additional $2.3 million of money it doesn’t have (read more debt) in the Wall St complex in order to house Fisher & Paykel expansion. Rent support is also mentioned. Tony Avery says it will add to the city centre and bring more people. What!? This is an operation totally out of zone, and has been since day one. It was always a compromise and bait in order to get the spaces filled when it was patently obvious that the whole complex was creating an oversupply of retail areas. The whole exercise was flawed, and under costed from the start. Councillor Hilary Calvert has some strong thoughts on this. Now we see a further enmeshment in the folly, just like Brer Fox and the tar baby. F & P are to be encouraged by all means, but in the heart of retail? Now that’s a flagrant breach of the District Plan. But hey! that’s OK if it is the DCC who breaches? Right! Sorry, but this council is in total disarray and out of control. Its left hand has no idea what its right hand is up to, and the rest of business must look on in awe and disbelief.

    • Look Calvin! It’s not DCC’s money! And I bet Cr Staynes (ex F&P) and the COC girl and boys are truly chuffed this hasn’t personally cost them a cent. That’s what Dunedin’s economic development strategy is for: to privilege DCC ‘business’ (and glove puppets) over every other private business in town VIA RATEPAYER SUBSIDY TO CHINESE INTERESTS. It’s the new edge. The new rorts – with mayor Dave Cull presiding as rip-off agent.

    • Mike

      Let’s not forget that the DCC (not DCHL) also owns half of the Golden Centre, I wonder who’s being paid to be a director there …. ah I see, Syd still collecting after 14 years a director ….

  58. Mike, correct me if I am wrong but the DCC owns the Golden Centre car park only. The Centre itself I believe is Clear Construction Ltd’s.

    • Mike

      The DCC owns 499999 shares, out of 1 million, of GOLDEN BLOCK INVESTMENTS LIMITED – Syd has been a director since 2000.

  59. Hype O'Thermia

    “Tony Avery says it will add to the city centre and bring more people.” (Calvin Oaten March 3, 2014 at 5:29 pm)
    The Fubar Stadium brought thousands more students to the University of Otago. Concerts and events under the stadium’s roof brought $millions into the Dunedin economy, the hospitality industry boomed. Career opportunities (in low-paid service positions true but it’s a step on the ladder to wealth, right?) proliferated. Direct benefit was to accommodation providers, cafes and taxis, then the flow-on effects benefited all of us.

    I’m right, aren’t I?

  60. Hype. Of course you are right. It’s thems that ain’t.

  61. Dunedin City Council – Media Release
    DCC Assists Fisher & Paykel Expansion

    This item was published on 03 Mar 2014

    Dunedin’s Wall Street complex will be redeveloped to accommodate an expansion of the Fisher & Paykel design centre.

    Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull says, “This is a wonderful opportunity to partner with Fisher & Paykel as they consolidate their status as a world-leading appliance designer.”

    Fisher & Paykel, a key employer and one of the largest tenants in the central business district, wants to extend its existing lease of office and laboratory space in the Dunedin City Council-owned Wall Street complex in George Street. This is to provide the Design and Call Centre with capacity for a total of 230 staff, enabling the continuation of a growth plan that will see a 40% increase in design staff numbers by 2018.

    Mr Cull says, “This kind of development is exactly what the city needs and lines up with Dunedin’s Economic Development Strategy, which aims to support high-tech industries and create more knowledge economy jobs. It builds on the relationship that has been established with Qingdao and Haier as a result of recent visits to China and the subsequent signing of an economic partnership Memorandum of Understanding with the Qingdao Chamber of Commerce.”

    The expansion means the DCC will invest up to $2.3 million to provide extra office space in the Wall Street complex (including a break through to the Penrose building), upgrade the Penrose building, make a contribution to tenant relocation costs. It will receive additional rental.

    Fisher & Paykel Dunedin Site Manager Richard Butler says today’s announcement is a continuation of the research and development growth plans announced in February last year.

    “As we expand our research and development facilities, it is vital that all our activities are able to be accommodated in a shared space. The current site is well-suited to meet our needs and we were keen to remain there rather than shift to another location in the city. The design and central location of the Wall Street building have enabled us to build a high quality, creative space that is close to our customers and very convenient for staff. Our expansion plans, in partnership with the Dunedin City Council, will mean that we can enhance the aspects of the facility that work so well for us currently, as well as growing those areas that need increased capacity. In the next few weeks we expect to be in a position to provide more detail on our expansion plans,” Mr Butler says.

    DCC Acting Chief Executive Tony Avery says the growth of the design centre would bring more people into the central city and add to the vitality of the area. An economic impact report predicts wider economic benefits for Dunedin of up to $11 million. A building consent application is expected shortly. Tenders for the work, which will close in late March, will also be advertised soon. Work is expected to be underway in April.

    DCC reports and minutes released under LGOIMA (PDF, 980 KB)
    [note all the blackouts, shades of the Stadium documents –whatifdunedin]

    Contact Chief Executive, Dunedin City Council on 477 4000

    DCC Link

    This is all BS.

    • With this media release I confirm my vote of no confidence in the DCC mayor and chief executive –
      The CE lasted in my favour for all of two weeks… following my strong initial doubts, I had some enthusiasm with announcement of the Stadium Review… which in turn earned my wrath at the connivings for a University of Otago takeover of the stadium at cost to ratepayers that’s yet to surface publicly as ‘news’ but which obviously prompts the need for the ‘council review’ (a stocktake, if you will).

      Could be wrong. But I’m not feeling it.

  62. Phil

    I suspect the name Golden Block Investments was dreamed up in order for it to appear as though they also owned the Golden Centre but, as has been pointed out, that was not the case. Golden Block Investments effectively only owned the Penrose’s Building. Directors a few years ago consisted of the then head of City Property, the deputy head of CP, the deputy head of CP’s husband (Abercrombie & Assoc), Athol Stephens, and one other whose name escapes me now.


    Current Directors:
    Sydney Bernard BROWN
    12 Hagart Alexander Drive, Mosgiel 9024
    Appointment Date: 23 Nov 2000

    Robert CLARK
    2 Rosehill Road, Macandrew Bay, Dunedin
    Appointment Date: 01 Mar 2009

    Anthony Grant CLEAR
    4 Brent Street, Maori Hill, Dunedin 9014
    Appointment Date: 01 Mar 1996

    Kenneth John CUMMINGS
    Bush Road, Mosgiel ,
    Appointment Date: 01 Mar 1996

    Jason Paul LA HOOD
    27 Belmont Lane, Dunedin 9013
    Appointment Date: 19 May 2005

    Former Directors:
    Athol James STEPHENS
    527 Highgate, Dunedin
    Appointment Date: 01 Dec 2007
    Ceased date: 01 Mar 2009

    David Allan MCKENZIE
    30 Argyle St, Mornington, Dunedin
    Appointment Date: 01 Mar 1996
    Ceased date: 01 Nov 2007

    Murray Francis DOUGLAS
    359 Stuart St, Dunedin
    Appointment Date: 06 Dec 1996
    Ceased date: 23 Nov 2000

    Stephen Daniel MACKAY
    31 Elgin Road, Mornington, Dunedin
    Appointment Date: 01 Mar 1996
    Ceased date: 28 Nov 1996

  64. Penrose’s Building, 205-207 George St – Golden Block Investments Ltd

    Wall Street Mall, 211-213 George St, 45 Filleul St – DCC City Property

    239 George St – Ian Nicholas Pagonis

    245-261 George St – Throp Properties Ltd (not a registered company; Michael Durham Throp and Sally Ann Throp, 150 Tirohanga Road North Taieri / 152 Tirohanga Road, RD 2, Mosgiel 9092)

    Golden Centre Car Park, 49 Filleul St (A) – Land Lease Investments Pty Ltd [see also Meridian Mall, 251 George St (B)]

    Golden Centre Mall, 57 Filluel St – Golden Centre Holdings Ltd

  65. F&P to expand in mall
    A multimillion-dollar redevelopment of Dunedin’s Wall Street shopping mall will create space for about 65 extra staff within Fisher and Paykel Appliances’ design centre in the city, it has been confirmed.

  66. Somebody had to challenge the DCC…

    Council F&P deal slammed
    Dunedin technology companies are angry the Dunedin City Council was prepared to spend $2.3 million to help an outside company create 65 extra jobs when the local companies are being neglected.

  67. Hilary Calvert’s photograph that accompanied the online story has just been swapped for Ian Taylor’s.

  68. Anonymous

    The conflict of interest is between the TLA acting as a consenting authority for a development in which it also has a financial interest. That Wall St was designated retail and then has office space is unfair competition with other office space in the central city.

    The dichotomy is between the Economic Development Strategy “win” of having “highly skilled” call-centre jobs “in one place” and “close to customers” and the Digital Strategy of “being able to work from anywhere”.

    I don’t get it. Who are the “customers” of the F&P design expertise and the call centre? Why do they have to be within a short distance of the CBD? Does F&P design office fitouts? Clothing? Commercial kitchens?

    • Question: will the resource consent application be notified? The community has the right to demand it be notified – and should now write to the council chief executive seeking this. Further, should anyone wish to be treated by the council as a legitimate affected party they should make this plain in writing to the chief executive and request that copy of their letter is placed on the relevant property files.

      Oh wait. Only a building consent is required, the council deems.

      • The proposed redevelopment falls within the Central Activity zone (CA) and the townscape precinct TH09. Go to volume 1 of the Dunedin City District Plan to check the zone rules. In addition, the Penrose’s Building (item B111) is listed in Schedule 25.1 with facade protection above the verandah line to the George Street and St Andrew Street elevations.

        See Chapter 9 of the District Plan, and 9.5.1 for CA permitted activities.

        Click to access 9.-Zone-provisions-Activity-Zones-whole-section.pdf

        9.5 Central Activity Zone – Rules
        Rule 9.5.1 Permitted Activities
        The following are permitted activities within the Central Activity Zone provided that they comply with the relevant conditions in Rule 9.5.2:
        (i) Commercial Activity.
        (ii) Recreational Activity.
        (iii) Residential Activity.
        (iv) Community Support Activity.
        (v) Large Scale Retail Activity.
        (vi) Licensed Premises.
        (vii) Commercial Residential Activity.
        (viii) Signs permitted in this zone are specified in the Signs Section.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Exactly, Anonymous. Who ARE F&P’s “customers” who have to be able to pop into their centre city office, perhaps while their spouses and kids are having a Happy Meal? Is this how design centres work? Sure, if they were designing one-off wedding dresses…. but F&P?

  69. As Anon says, the Wall St is designated retail. Offices would not be appropriate one would have thought. But then when desperate for tenants rules change. But then the F&P exercise could barely be classified as offices. It doesn’t even offer any good or service to the general public, in a retail sense, or in any sense at all. In fact it seems that the whole of its output is aimed internally at its owner company Haier of China.
    This, of course means it could do what it does down in the Vogel St developments, where I believe there would be abundant space just looking for that type of tenant of that type, and at a cheaper rate. That is, of course, assuming that the rate in Wall St is true to value. Then there is the question of designation. Is it in the correct planning zone for that activity? If not, why?

  70. Hype O'Thermia

    As far as zoning goes I’m inclined to be fairly relaxed where the activity does not adversely affect others in the area or cause uglification. Shop, office, meh. Where I am massively un-relaxed is seeing my rates chucked around by the Council yet again on something that is neither necessary nor advisable – except for themselves, to make it look as if the Wall Street brainfart-made-real was not another error of judgement.

  71. Editorial…
    “The one drawback of the $2.3 million investment is that this money was to have been used to repay debt.”

    The report behind the Dunedin City Council’s decision to invest further in the Wall Street mall, plus the adjacent Penroses building, is clear in its recommendations.

  72. Hype O'Thermia

    With debt repayment money being so easily divertible to other purposes far, far away from core business, the sky’s the limit.
    Woo-hoo! Back to pet projects, departmental empire-building and general irresponsibility, i.e. S.N.A.F.U. in the present tense.

  73. [Golden Block Developments to share costs]

    Golden Block Developments (GBD) director Jason La Hood contacted the Otago Daily Times yesterday to assure Dunedin city ratepayers the company would contribute to the upgrade and would not leave it all to the Dunedin City Council, the other half-owner of the building.

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