It would have cost Tauranga City Council at least $55 million to finish the now-abandoned Harington Street Transport Hub - and potentially $7m if what's already built is demolished.
The estimated cost of completing Tauranga's troubled Transport Hub has been revealed after the council said it abandoned the project, which has major structural and foundation issues.
The hub was expected to have 250 parking spaces for cyclists, 53 for motorbikes, 535 car parks, 15 mobility parks, electric charge points for cars and e-bikes, and showers and lockers.
Council's infrastructure general manager Nic Johansson said indications were the cost to complete the carpark building would have exceeded $36m, on top of $19m already spent.
"That additional cost relates to strengthening parts of the building which have already been constructed and would have required the council to spend at least $55m, in total, on this project."
The original budget was $29m.
• Review reveals new issues for Tauranga's Harington Street Transport Hub
• Tauranga's Harington Street Transport Hub review finds foundation flaws
• Hamilton St to reopen while work on Harington St Transport Hub halted
• Premium - Investigation launched to save Tauranga's Harington Street Transport Hub
The council decided this would not be an effective or prudent use of funds, effectively spending good money after bad, Johansson said.
However, it aims to recover as much of the $19m already spent - a cost that would have no impact on ratepayers.
"This project is funded from council's parking reserve and has no impact on rates," Johansson said.
TCC to take action to recover as much of the $19m spent on the project
Petition started to save 'vibrant' Our Place
"The cost to-date relates to construction progress payments and the various professional fees required to get the project under way."
The decision to abandon the build was made in a public-excluded council meeting on Thursday. There are no plans to do anything with what has already been built.
Construction of the seven-storey transport hub, with two more levels below ground, began in June 2018 but seismic strengthening work stopped last May after the council was told of potential issues relating to the structure's seismic joints.
All construction work was suspended in September and an engineering review began.
At the beginning of March, the council confirmed that review found structural issues and foundation strengthening was also needed.
Johansson told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend the technical issue was a beam twisting under the weight of a concrete pour. The seismic strength deficiencies came to light later, after elements of the structural design were challenged.
He stressed that when the council decided to undertake the project in 2017, it could not have foreseen the issues that had arisen.
The priority now was to try to recover as much of the wasted costs as possible.
There will now be a thorough investigation into the ultimate outcome for the building, which will likely include an option of potentially demolishing the building, Johansson said.
It was too soon to speculate on what the final outcome would be but it would cost about $7m to demolish the structure.
Expert reports and the report to council would remain confidential, with the council citing "commercial sensitivity and legal privilege reasons".
Information about the remedial options and estimated costs would be released when it was possible to do so, Johansson said.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said in his view the building added to a growing list of projects that was creating ratepayer scepticism, such Durham St, Phoenix carpark, ongoing Wharf St issues and Greerton traffic lights.
"This is particularly critical as the council is proposing to increase commercial rates to help fund projects. The business community needs to know the council's plan and have faith that the council can deliver on its promises.
"This is not a great start."
Regardless of the number of external parties involved, Cowley said the council needed to review its role in the project.
"We cannot have this situation repeated as we recover from Covid."
Mayor Tenby Powell said the council was not responsible for the issues and the business and wider community could take "considerable comfort" with how council was dealing with the problem.
"I'm bitterly disappointed at what has transpired with regard to the Transport Hub. If this building had been delivered as it should have been, it would have future-proofed our carparking capacity for years to come and also provided a facility to encourage a transport modal shift to cycling and walking.
"Unfortunately, that's not to be and our job now is to recover as much of the wasted cost as possible on behalf of ratepayers and get on with the job of finding another way to utilise a valuable and well-located central city site," Powell said.
Julie Hammon, of Hammon Diamond Jewellers, said she too was bitterly disappointed.
"Parking is critical downtown and we were certainly looking forward to increased capacity.
"It was also providing other options for people with biking, it's a big disappointment. Once again it is a blow for the CBD when we are already struggling to overcome so much."
Bike Tauranga chairman Kevin Kerr said it was a huge setback for the city and cycling community, which he said was relying on the hub.
"There are other businesses that do have showers and bike parks but there is not many in town like that.
"There are a lot of people post-Covid that have cleaned up their bikes and are wanting to use them and the fact that we don't have a hub in the centre of town is just disappointing."
Tauranga councillor Heidi Hughes, who represented transport advocacy group Greater Tauranga, said it was an unfortunate outcome but she was not disappointed.
"The main function was a carpark and I'm not disappointed because under the circumstances it was the right thing to do.
"It is a really unfortunate outcome but with or without that building we are well on our way to getting our cycle network sorted."
Tauranga Sustainable Business Network spokesman Glen Crowther said like a lot of people he was deeply disappointed.
"It raises the question of what the impact on businesses will be,'' he said.
"While this will be a bit of a setback, my approach is to do whatever we can collectively as businesses and people that go into the city, to not all travel in at peak time and ideally getting out of our cars and finding other ways to get there."