Tenant wait forces layoffs

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About a dozen carpenters and labourers have been laid off a central Queenstown building site because of
a tenant drought.

The workmen were given two weeks’ notice after completing the shell of half of a new Church Street commercial complex for a group of local developers. They understood they’d have another two months working on the interior fitout, worker John Mowat says.

Co-developer John Guthrie confirms their contract with Edge Construction has finished. He’d hoped a new fitout contract could have been let by now but that’s been delayed till tenants are in place.

Guthrie was unsuccessful in luring Queenstown Lakes District Council as a tenant after arguing QLDC couldn’t afford the extravagance of building a new office block – now deferred.

The only tenant on the horizon is the Pulse Fitness gym, currently housed in Memorial St, which is due to take over the first floor in about December.

Mowat, who’s worked on the site for 19 months, says most other workers have left town already – Edge is also being wound up after principal Ewan Edgerton died suddenly four months ago.

In the other half of the building, owned separately by Sydney developer Rob Gardos, anchor tenant Nomads this week opened its 320-bed hostel.