Work to start on apartment project - finally

Last updated 08:19 29/11/2011
Il Casino

Still waiting: The site of the former Il Casino restaurant in Tory St.

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Another start date has been given for Globe Holdings' long-delayed apartment development on the site of the former Il Casino restaurant in Tory St.

Work is now set to start early next year and be completed in about April 2013, beyond the completion date specified in original contracts offered to people who signed up to buy apartments shortly after the development was first advertised.

And at least one buyer, who has been frustrated by the repeated delays, will now be eligible to get back the 10 per cent deposit put down two years ago.

The buyer said initial advice was that work would start in 2009, but five subsequent start dates had come and gone since.

The buyer, who did not want to be named, said the contract specified the project would be completed by the end of 2012.

Globe Holdings obtained a resources consent in 2008 for a nine-storey Appartamento Il Casino development on the Il Casino site.

Marketing of 29 apartments began soon after and within months Globe managing director Andrew Fawcet told The Dominion Post that 14 of the 29 apartments had been sold. Prices ranged from $395,000 for a 54-square-metre one- bedroom unit to $2.1 million for a 182sqm penthouse. Two-bedroom apartments were listed for about $700,000.

Fawcet has given apartment buyers and The Dominion Post a number of start dates.

Last November he said it was out for tender with work scheduled to start in February.

In February he said a contract had been let to a major construction company, that work would start in the next two months and be completed in 15 months - before the December 2012 deadline provided in early sale contracts.

Fawcet could not be contacted for comment last week.

But his public relations consultant Rob McGregor said work would now start in earnest in January. Negotiations had been taking place with an adjoining property owner for the temporary placement of ground anchors to support excavations along with air rights for the use of a crane. This had delayed the start of construction.

He said about three-quarters of the apartments had been sold off the plans and the project was now fully funded.

A Wellington City Council spokesman said a building consent had not yet been issued.

However, Watts & Hughes Construction director Mark Gutry said he expected work to start at the end of January.

"The council has advised there will be no road closures in December and January and we're just getting all the propping for the facade manufactured off site. If we can't have road closures the reality is that we won't be on site to the end of January."

Construction would take 15 and a half months and the earliest completion date was now April 2013, but "it's certainly all go".

Gutry said his understanding was that the sunset clause on purchase contracts had been extended as: "Westpac would not have signed the loan document without them being extended, but you would need to talk to Andrew about that."

However, a buyer spoken to by The Dominion Post said an extension had not been signed and the last correspondence from Globe was a newsletter about a year ago.

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Meanwhile, there have been public notices requiring payment of debts by Fawcet and Globe Holdings.

The Dominion Post has been advised that a Wellington City Council claim for $75,000 was settled after it was notified in the Mercantile Gazette.

And an application to put Globe Holdings into liquidation, which was to have been heard in the High Court on November 7, was withdrawn after settlement of an unspecified claim by Leap Australasia.

Meanwhile, work is continuing on Globe's other apartment development, the 11-storey Forte block on Vivian and College streets. McKee Fehl construction managing director said there had been delays on the project because of problems in the foundations and design changes to ensure it would not be a leaky building, but all progress payments on the job had been met by Globe.

- The Dominion Post


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