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Man in charge . . . Breens Construction project manager Bill Gallagher on site at the new Mariner Suites accommodation complex in Tyne St, which is due to open on December 1. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

It’s been smooth sailing for construction of Oamaru’s newest accommodation development, and bookings are open to receive guests from December 1.

Oamaru couple Ross and Debbie Ward, who are developing the Tyne St complex, said aside from a six-week Covid-19 hold-up, things had been running completely to plan.

Mariner Suites is the name the pair have given to the 22-unit luxury accommodation. All rooms are studio units to cater more for “free independent travellers”, corporate customers and couples – rather than families.

“Because of Airbnb, there’s so much stuff for families around,” Mr Ward said.

Breens Construction was in charge of the build, and the Wards were happy with how things were going.

“These guys haven’t really missed a day. We’ve been six weeks down because of Covid, and that’s all we are behind,” Mrs Ward said.

been “awesome to work with”.

Mr Ward agreed.

“This has been quite good fun, working with Breens,” he said. “It’s been a happy site. No arguments.”

This is the third accommodation development for the Wards, who also built Highfield Mews in Thames St and, before that, Clearbrook in Wanaka.

Mrs Ward said their experience running Highfield Mews had helped them identify what their target market would be for Mariner Suites.

Construction was mostly finished, with 12 suites completed and furnished, and it was just a matter of tidying up small details and landscaping.

One of the suites, with interior design by Design Federation and furniture made by Colin Willetts.

Breens Construction project manager Bill Gallagher said the “whole job had run to programme” with, on average, 25 people on site per day.

“It’s a 61-week build with six weeks for Covid. And it was always going to be a 61-week build,” he said.

He echoed the Wards’ sentiments that the build had run smoothly.

From Breens’ point of view, the Wards had been “very, very good clients”, he said.

“We’ve enjoyed working with them, and all that makes the project a success.”

The Wards won the right to develop the 6200sq m site after the Waitaki District Council released an expression-of-interest document to formally request ideas from potential developers in May 2017.