O’Connells mall makeover

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Skyline Enterprises plans to pump more than $10 million into a revamp of Queentown’s main shopping mall.

Skyline chairman Mark Quickfall confirmed a rebuild of O’Connells, on Camp Street and Beach St, was ruled out after the building was declared structurally sound with no need for any major strengthening upgrades.

The refurb is expected to kick off in April 2019, meaning the mall’s tenants will need to find new digs before then – Quickfall estimates for up to one year.

The goal is to make the building “iconic” with a full internal and external upgrade.

QT Pharmacy has been a tenant since 2008 and owned by Tae Song since 2011 – he’s torn by the news.

“I think it’s good they’re going for a refurbish but it’s just the fact we have to move out for six months to one-and-a-half years.”

He’s been told 18 months is the maximum time out. His main concern is high rent will force him out of the CBD and he’ll lose his main income, foot-traffic tourists.

If he can make it work, he’d like to move back in after the refurb.

London Shoes owner Paul Garvie, in the building for 10 months, welcomes the do-up.

“It’s good, it should be a focal point of downtown Queenstown.

“It’s not as appealing as it could be, the view in the mall is pretty poor to be honest.”

He’s a little worried about where he’ll go but reckons he can afford to close down while the refurb is underway because he’s got two other stores, Issimo Shoes and The Frontrunner, to keep him afloat.

Quickfall says at this stage existing tenants will have first dibs to get back into the done-up building. He won’t confirm if rents will spike but says rates will be “fair and reasonable”.

The use of the building will remain the same with offices, retail, food and beverage.