The first sod has been turned on a building project that will see Tauranga's 2012 Business of the Year first cab off the rank on a new section of industrial land in Mount Maunganui.
Garden supplies company Tui Products yesterday unveiled plans for a 10,500sq m purpose-built building that will accommodate growth and provide efficiencies for the award-winning business.
Tui have signed a 99-year lease with Mangatawa Papamoa Blocks Inc, a Maori trust that owns about 300ha of land and have recently prepared 6ha of land on Truman Lane for industrial development.
Mangatawa board chairman Kevin Haua said the Tui building would be the first of many to come, some of which would be built by the trust itself. The trust owns a further 45ha of land on Truman Lane which it would like to develop for industrial businesses over the coming years, Mr Haua said.
"We're hoping this is going to be the start of a chain reaction," he said.
Tui managing director Don Forgie said a new purpose-built building had become a necessity for his business after five years of particularly strong growth.
"It's a big build, it's a hectare of building under one roof and initially there will be about 60 staff here and we've got growth aspirations. We've got some quite aggressive plans for the next four years and we hope they come off."
Working space had become cramped at the business's current location on Hull Rd, causing inefficiencies, he said.
Tui had looked to buy land, and had even considered moving out of the Bay of Plenty, but a commitment to staff and the benefits of the Mangatawa location had won out in the end. Planning for the new site began about 3 years ago, he said.
Tui has formed a joint venture with Wallace Developments, a Palmerston North company which will soon be opening a Tauranga office, to manage the project which was expected to be completed in twelve months.
The building, which will feature warehouses, offices and yards, will be built by Tauranga company Strongline Buildings.
Strongline managing director Mike Keaney said his team had been working on the design of the Tui building for the past 18 months and he was looking forward to starting the build. He expected 30 to 40 builders to be on site for the next year.
"This is a great job for us, it's one of the biggest we've undertaken," he said.
The Mangatawa trust was also leasing 8ha of land to a retirement village operator which was building the $110 million Pacific Coast Village on Papamoa Beach Rd.