Retailers are gearing up for opening after contractors handed over the first part of Queenstown’s Five Mile development creating more than 200 new jobs.
Countdown, Briscoes, Rebel Sport, Warehouse Stationery, Number One Shoes and a new Dick Smith store, all open on October 22 in time for Labour Weekend. An ANZ and AMI Insurance branches have also been handed over, but do not open until early next year.
Naylor Love project manager Jason Tutty, of Dunedin, said the second half of the first stage is due for handover on October 30 and opening late next month. It includes a laundromat, gym, café, pharmacy, health store and juice bar. A Zig Zag Zoo childcare centre in that stage will also open early next year.
“It’s been a difficult, challenging job, both getting resources and materials to Queenstown and competing with the Christchurch rebuild for those,” Tutty said. Queenstown’s coldest winter in many years had delayed some work, but the more than 300 workers on site could be proud that they gained time in other areas and still delivered right on the due date, he said.
Naylor Love had more than 70 carpenters on the job and 250 tradespeople from around the South Island, including Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch, are working on the project. Housing had also been a challenge with many tradespeople accommodated at Cromwell.
Manager of the 4000 square metre Countdown, Antony Tasker, said he had recruited almost 100 staff and was still looking for another 20. About 30 staff are already stocking shelves this week, while others are being trained in Invercargill and Dunedin. He said he had at least nine nationalities among the new recruits, with other experienced staff recruited from Auckland and Dunedin.
“Everyone’s champing at the bit,” he said.
The new store features two travelators – or trolley escalators.
About 60 Briscoe Group staff from around the country are pitching in for the next few weeks with the Queenstown Briscoes and Rebel Sport fit-outs.
Briscoe Group group managing director Rod Duke said all 35 staff for the new stores were Queenstown locals.
“We hired our key people a month ago as we recognised the need to hire quickly in Queenstown,” he said.
Briscoe Group had been trying for four years to open both stores in Queenstown.
“It was only when Five Mile came up that it made economic sense,” he said.
“Up until that time the cost of property was astronomical and cost prohibitive to me. We’re very excited to be opening – we’ve had a lot of requests,” Duke said.
There are almost 800 car parks on site at Five Mile, 250 underground. It is understood the second stage of Five Mile is likely to begin construction early next year.