Racing hasn't been affected by the construction at Alexandra Park. Photo: Trish Dunell
The Auckland Trotting Club has taken the extreme step of severing ties with one of two construction companies engaged to build its new ‘223 Green Lane West’ commercial development.
It is understood local firm Canam Construction were ordered off the site of ‘Building A’ last week, an eight-storey tower where they were building over 110 units.
In an email to its members last Thursday, ATC CEO Dominique Dowding and President Bruce Carter confirmed that a new company had been appointed to take over that part of the project.
“The Auckland Trotting Club Inc. board informs our members that as of Thursday, 19 July 2018 it has replaced the construction contractor of Building A,” read the notice.
“The ATC has now contracted a new constructor known as CMP Construction Ltd. who have taken immediate possession of the site and have an excellent reputation for finishing projects on time.
“We want to also assure our members that Westpac continues to support the club.
“Further, our sales and retail leases are still in place.”
Dowding and Carter did not return calls for comment on Wednesday morning and members of the ATC Board declined to comment, citing that the matter was in the hands of solicitors.
A well-placed source told The Informant the ATC were unhappy with the performance of Canam and believed they had failed to adhere to their contractual obligations.
The project had fallen well behind schedule and it was starting to impact other aspects of the business, such as the projected increase in racing stakes.
A source with his ear at board level confirmed the move had been on the cards for a while and “should have been made months ago”.
The first cluster of nearly 250 apartments was supposed to be completed by the start of this year, and that new target of February 2019 looks forlorn, especially in the building being managed by Canam.
The New Zealand Herald reported on Wednesday that Canam Construction claimed they were owed money.
Managing Director Loukas Petrou called it a “complex situation”.
The story also quoted Dowding as saying “We believe the project and construction are in good hands and it will be completed as we wanted."
The inference from that line, and the email to members last week, seems to confirm the suggestion that the ATC were fed up with the project lagging well behind schedule.
The second tower (eight stories) and a third building (four stories), being constructed by Australian company Ganellen, are understood to be progressing at the desired rate and the ATC are said to be more than happy with their status.
A closed meeting was held Tuesday night, at the Alexandra Park complex, for all buyers of apartments, many of which have paid significant deposits, and who will no doubt be a tad nervous at the news.
The Informant spoke to one buyer, whose apartment is in the troubled tower in question.
He believes heads need to roll at the Auckland Trotting Club due to their apathy regarding this situation.
“I am disappointed with how this has played out.
“We expected to be in there by now. When we signed up they said it would be February of this year.
“Then it was September, and now its February of next year.
“Well, looking at it, they are no show. It is a long way off being finished.”
He wanted to know why the ATC board had sat on their hands and let this drag out as long as they had.
“I reckon those guys on the board need a bit of a shake-up.
“When I’ve been going to the races recently and I’ve seen any of the board members, I’ve been asking them to tell me which building is the one I’m in.
“They were all really vague about it, and it’s become apparent that it was the small, grey structure next to the other two towers.
“We were really looking forward to staying in there on race night and the longer this drags on, the more it frustrates.
“I want to know why they even employed this company in the first place; every person I have spoken to in the building industry has said they haven’t had the greatest record.
“All I can hope is that the new crowd is the right one for the job to get this mess back on track.”
He noted that he had no desire to attend any meeting where he would no doubt receive ‘lip service’.
“I’m not going to go and listen to all their crap; I can’t do anything about it.
“I just wish they had been honest with us and kept us informed.”