The Provincial Growth Fund will lend $19.5 million to Invercargill as part of a major commercial re-development in part of the southern city, in an announcement made by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones to mark the inaugural direct flight between Auckland and Invercargill.
The Minister said that a business case suggested the project could boost Southland's real GDP by about $48 million a year, create more than 500 jobs during the construction phase and a further 300 retail and hospitality jobs once the redevelopment is complete.
"These results would be an absolute game-changer for Invercargill and the wider region”.
"It's a happy day for Invercargill and the wider Southland district with new direct flights between Auckland and a provincial growth fund boost of $19.5 million," Minister Jones added.
The loan would go towards a $165 million project to redevelop an entire block in the Invercargill city centre for retail, hospitality, office space and entertainment.
The redevelopment had been identified as a key project in the Southland regional development strategy action plan, and was being led by key local players including the Invercargill City Council.
"It may be a small city at the bottom of the South Island but it's one with a big vision,” the Minister said.