Costs leap up $30m
The cost of finishing Manukau Institute of Technology's new campus has risen by almost $30 million because of the collapse of construction company Mainzeal.
Work on many high-profile projects, including the campus, ground to a halt when receivers were brought in to sort out the firm's faltering finances in February.
The project's original budget has ballooned from $95m to between $120m and $125m, MIT chief executive Peter Brothers says.
However, he is confident the new campus in the Manukau city centre - complete with a train station underneath - will be ready for its business and IT students by semester two next year.
That's because he's signed a new contract with Hawkins Construction which means building has begun again after months of inactivity.
"We couldn't walk away from it.
"Because we're a public institution, it's not the shareholders that would suffer but the people of South Auckland," Dr Brothers says.
About 80 per cent of MIT students come from South Auckland.
Costs like legal fees and remedial work done at the site after it was left vacant over winter have pushed up the final price.
The rise has also meant plans to build an engineering and trade centre at MIT's Otara campus have now been put off indefinitely, Dr Brothers says.
The single biggest delay was caused by a Chinese supplier of windows that Mainzeal had organised.
"There was a container full of windows on the docks. We were prepared to pay for them but the receivers couldn't decide who to make the cheque out to."
Dr Brothers says it is a relief to see the work finally start again.
The plan to have retail and food outlets on the bottom floor, with the top one-and-a-half floors rented out on a six-year lease as office space remains the same. Leasing some space is part of the financial package put together to fund the project, Dr Brothers says, and having the business faculty in the heart of the business district also makes sense.
He's also looking forward to working with officials from the new $30m museum, unofficially known as Te Papa North, proposed for Hayman Park.
MIT could display some of the artwork from the museum or use its lecture rooms for outreach programmes.
Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy says the train station beneath the campus will become much busier once MIT is up and running.
Dr Levy says trains will run every 10 minutes during peak times on weekdays and every 15 minutes at other times.
"The introduction of timetables will be staged as we gradually introduce our new electric trains on to the network."
The first electric train is expected to be used on the Manukau line in the second half of next year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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