After almost two years of site and foundation works, building structures at the $700 million NZ International Convention Centre are rising and subterranean car parking levels and the basement of a new 300-room hotel are being completed.
Graeme Stephens, SkyCity chief executive, yesterday expressed satisfaction with Fletcher Construction's progress, despite announcing last month that it was behind the original schedule.
Work had sped up lately, he said.
"It gets exciting from now," Stephens said yesterday of the site between Hobson St, Nelson St, Victoria St West and Wellesley St.
"I find construction sites painfully slow but when you get out of the ground...now, we see the structures emerging and it will go quickly. You will be able to see change every couple of weeks."
Five Fletcher Construction tower cranes are on the job, including one able to lift the heaviest load in New Zealand. SkyCity provided a new image of the site in its annual report, also out yesterday with its result for the June 30, 2017 year.
Work started on the site before Christmas 2015, preparing for the convention centre, five-star hotel and dining/shopping lane linking Nelson St to Hobson St.
Stephens said yesterday SkyCity had main two areas of interest during the construction phase.
"Our focus is making sure that the product is built at the right quality and that there are no cost over-runs from our perspective. A couple of months slippage is less critical," he said of an anticipated late delivery.
Last month, SkyCity told the NZX that Fletcher Construction had provided an updated programme of works which indicated practical completion around the middle of 2019, not the first three months of that year.
"SkyCity remains comfortable with the contractual arrangements we have with Fletcher Construction and the project remains on-budget," the company said on July 20.
"This slight delay will not impact on any of the NZICC's confirmed bookings to date," the company told the stock exchange.
Stephens said yesterday he had noticed construction work now going faster.
"I'm pleased to report that since Fletcher's announcement, we've had some changes in management at the site level and since they flagged the delay, we've seen a pick-up in activity," he said.
He was reluctant to name any new personnel or the project director. Comment has been sought from Fletcher Building.
Fletcher said this year two big construction projects had resulted in operating earnings guidance downgrades from $610m-$650m down to $525m for the June 30, 2017 year.
A Citi Research Equities analyst said they were the NZICC and Christchurch's Justice and Emergency Precinct, but Fletcher has never confirmed that.
SkyCity's investor presentation posted on the NZX yesterday gave an update on the NZICC, saying significant progress had been achieved. Excavation and site preparation works were finished and car park levels and the hotel basement were now under construction.
A slight delay in completion would not have any impact on the NZICC's confirmed bookings, it said.
Stephens said SkyCity had convention space where it could accommodate events, although not the major events which were booked for the NZICC.