Contractor found for mall refurbishment

WOLLONGONG City Council has accepted a contract from Lahey Constructions to refurbish the city’s Crown Street Mall.

Lahey Constructions submitted a revised offer of $11.6 million to carry out the construction of the refurbished Mall. Council has also accepted an offer of $1.05 million for the supply of pavers for the mall works.

The Mall is expected to cost $19.4 million following the revised offers. Council has received $5 million in funding from Regional Development Australia Fund.

The cost increases since the project was proposed include the original estimate assumed works would be undertaken during working hours. Following feedback from community and retailers, some work will now be carried outside of normal business hours to assist smooth business operations during construction.

Other allowances such as Wi-Fi in the city centre, adjustments for sewer, telecommunications, electricity, and modifying the final tender documents after deleting some features such as a water feature are other key reasons for the increase in costs.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said this is a strong decision for the city. “The Crown Street Mall is one of the most highly visible and trafficked areas in our city,” Cr Bradbery said. “We must ensure that it is a robust and attractive place that helps make the city centre a vibrant and pleasing experience.

“Works will be conducted over the two years from February to September during 2013 and 2014.

“This is also a long term project. The mall was last upgraded in 1987; and we believe that it will be another 20 to 30 years before the mall is refurbished again. So it’s a sound investment over the Mall’s life span.”

Council will allocate an additional $4.4million in the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 Capital budget to fund the project.

The company which will carry out the removal of the birdcage and the amphitheatre, Mann Pty Ltd, will take control of the site and begin works later this week.

At its meeting Council also resolved to appoint an experienced art curator to assist with the procurement of public art for the Mall.

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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