Commercial reality is closing out hopes the business community will be able to help pay for an extended Greerton Library.
Four Tauranga City Councillors who have spent the last 11 months exploring ways the library could be developed through a public-private partnership have found it won’t work for Greerton.
The council proposed a public-private redevelopment of the current Subway block on the corner of Greerton and Chadwick Roads, Greerton library and adjacent Plunket site whereby the council would offer the land, but developers would own the building and require market return on their investment.
The city would be put in a position of having to lease back library space, at commercial rates.
Councillors Terry Molloy, Larry Baldock, Tony Christiansen and Bill Grainger volunteered to explore the partnership option last May after the council rejected the $1.3million, 450m2 extension to the library building selected by ratepayers in the Annual Plan.
The council decided on the cheaper $520,000 option A that will extend the library by 200 m sq. According to council’s own figures the 200 m sq would only cater for growing library use until 2013.
“As I understand it any joint development is over, but there are other things we are investigating,” says Tony Christiansen today.
“We do have a resolution by council to actually do something, so we have to follow through that process as far as we can.”
“We’ve gone through that joint venture situation and it can’t stack up. It’s going to be at too high a cost for the city. Any joint venture is really not going to work for the council. Now we go through the process of what we can do ourselves with the funding that we have available.”
Terry Molloy believes there is still something to be salvaged.
“We’ve got a taskforce working to come up with a proposal that will work and we are getting very close to something that’s acceptable,” says Terry.
“We are putting it to the council on April 22. It’s not all over not by a long chalk.
“We have got a couple of quite reasonable proposals to put on the table. Some of it is in confidential at this stage.”
Larry Baldock also says there may still be a joint venture opportunity with the final development.
“We did go through one round of expressions of interest with some developers, but it just didn’t stack up,” says Larry.
“The idea was that we could keep the costs to ratepayers as low as we could, and it wasn’t working out, that’s about all I can say.”
Bill Grainger says they are working through an option that should see the library extension built at no cost to council.
“If we have to sell a property or two to do what we have to do we will,” says Bill.
“That’s what we are going through at the moment. It hasn’t been finalised yet.”
The joint venture was exploring the third redevelopment option - demolishing and rebuilding a larger 970 m.sq library with the help of private sector partner.