There’s been a spate of news about the City Rail Link recently and not all of it good.
Bidder pulls out
Late on Tuesday evening, City Rail Link Limited announced that one of the two shortlisted bidders withdrew from the process for the biggest of the contracts, the tunnels and stations from Wyndham to Mt Eden.
The release of tender documents for the City Rail Link tunnels and stations will be delayed by up to three months following the withdrawal of a preferred bidder from the process.
CRL chief executive Chris Meale says while the withdrawal is disappointing it won’t prevent progress on the CRL tender and discussions have already started with another prospective bidder.
“We are fortunate that the initial line-up of eight bidders for the project was exceptional and it was a hard choice to determine the top two.”
Mr Meale said one of them made its own commercial decision to withdraw this week. “While we are naturally disappointed, we are moving on.”
It is too early to tell if the three-month delay will roll on into the current project completion date of early 2024.
This is a serious and concerning development. I was hearing late last year that the companies unsuccessful in their bid to get on the shortlist had been informed. These companies won’t have had their project teams sitting around and they’ve likely already been split up and are now working on other projects. You have to wonder how this will also change the dynamic of the tender process as the other ‘preferred bidder’ likely has a big advantage. Does this make it more likely that we’ll end up paying more for the project and/or have less chance of getting some of the much needed features included, like the Beresford Square entrance and future proofing for longer trains?
As for who’s pulled out, no one is saying officially but the rumours are that it is Fletcher, which would be unsurprising given the challenges the organisation has had of late in other divisions.
CRLL say they’re already talking to another of the bidders but won’t say who it is. Below is the list of the initial eight bidders.
- Acciona Infrastructure New Zealand
- Bam International Australia
- China Machinery Engineering Corporation joint venture
- CPB Contractors
- Ferrovial Agroman (New Zealand)
- Salini Impregilo S.p.A
- Fletcher Construction
- Vinci Construction Grands Projets S.A.S (VCGP) joint venture.
All up a far less than ideal situation to be in. We can only hope this doesn’t delay the project further.
Future development potential
Just a day earlier, CRLL were boasting about the development potential of the project, saying about 200,000m² of it is possible on the land after they’ve finished. That is broken down as 65,000m² of commercial land and 130,000m² of residential which is enough for 1,400 new dwellings.
This potential includes:
- Land at the rear of the Britomart Transport Centre
- The Aotea Station site which includes the west Bledisloe Car Park
- The Karangahape Road station site
- About 4.6 hectares at Mount Eden including road reserve and the land acquired for the main construction yard, station and trenches.
They also released a number of new images. Here are some of them
Mt Eden is where the largest area will be available for development, both on CRL land and on neighbouring land. I wonder if this will end up being a site the government choose to develop as part of their plans for more housing?
There are a few more images of Mt Eden on the CRL website.
At Karangahape Rd there is development possible above the station but one interesting element is that there’ll be a new laneway between Mercury Lane and East St.
At Aotea they have consent for a 41,000m² office town above the station entrance and next to it (in the old carpark beside the Bledisloe Building for a couple of buildings
There will even be space at Britomart, likely on the site of the current, temporary station entrance.
It’s worth noting that the value of the redevelopment this opens up wasn’t something that is able to captured in the economic evaluation for the project.
The hunt for a new CEO
Late last year it was announced that the CEO of CRL project, Chirs Meale, would retire. He was the one who once infamously stated that we didn’t need an entrance at Beresford because the steep walk up Mercury Lane is “good for you”.
City Rail Link Limited Chief Executive Chris Meale has announced he is retiring from his role next year (2018).
Mr Meale, who has led the project for five years, has previously stated he would step down in early 2018 when the project’s future was assured and was in a stable position for change.
The rumour mill is suggesting that the hunt for a new CEO isn’t going well which is a shame because we could really do with some fresh thinking around issues like the Beresford entrance before any contracts are locked in stone, although it doesn’t appear that will be a problem any time soon.
Whilst there’s been plenty going on ‘off the pitch’, work has continued on the parts already underway.
On Albert St the trench is still being dug out but at the southern end they’ve started to build the tunnels within that.
At Britomart they’ve finished all of the piling, and the tunnels are looking very distinctive through the Commercial Bay site
Finally, a contract has been let to move a water main out of the way