New projects show Invercargill's future is bright

Following years of uncertainty, Invercargill's central city is getting a face-lift - and it's calling out for more workers.

A $200 million inner-city re-development has been planned for much of the city centre, replacing buildings that could be dangerous.

"These buildings are well below code for earthquakes, so now is the time to act and actually do something positive for Invercargill," says Lindsay Thomas, the director of HWCP Management Ltd - the company behind the revitalisation.

The currently unattractive and mostly empty buildings are to be replaced with what HWCP hope is a visionary and vibrant new retail precinct.

The area would include new eateries, a theatre, medical centre and 1000 car parks.

Retail giant Kmart is also heading south, with a new shopping mall being constructed near the CBD.

The city has faced difficult times lately, with the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) hit hard by the Government's free fees policy.

SIT previously offered an extremely popular Zero Fees scheme, which attracted people from outside of Southland to the city.

But not resting on its losses, SIT and Mayor Tim Shadbolt launched accommodation bursaries which include either free shared student apartments or an accommodation payment, regardless of whether they live at home or rent.

With strong demand for the world's purest aluminium, the Tiwai Point smelter will restart its mothballed fourth potline later this year, pushing a big recruitment drive with 90 new staff coming on board. 

A new city hotel is also underway to help ease the accommodation squeeze as more visitors check out the deep south.

Mayor Shadbolt hopes more skilled workers see the exciting future ahead for Invercargill, and will come help build houses or join the local industries.