Major firm's new $10m head office

By Scott Inglis

COLLABORATION: Development manager for Element IMF, Grant Downing, at the site in Tauriko.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN
COLLABORATION: Development manager for Element IMF, Grant Downing, at the site in Tauriko.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN

AN international hi-tech corporation is shifting its Wellington head office and operations to Tauranga and will build a purpose-designed $10 million headquarters at Tauriko.

The move by Brother International (NZ) Limited will also see the company's staff of up to 40 people relocating to the Western Bay - a development described by Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby and Chamber of Commerce chief executive Max Mason as significant for the local economy.

Japanese-owned Brother - the leading provider of print and imaging equipment, sewing machines and labelling hardware in New Zealand and the Pacific - will build its 7930sq m warehouse and office complex at Tauriko Business Estate with construction starting next month.

The project is a three-way collaboration between Brother, Tauriko Business Estate's development arm Element IMF, and Strongline Buildings, which will build the facilities.

"We are excited to be working with Element IMF Limited, who have recognised Brother's potential to have a significant positive impact in Tauranga," said Brother International (NZ) executive chairman Graham Walshe.

He added: "We have been especially impressed with Element IMF commercial manager Rachel Emerson's integrity and her on-going support with this relocation. Strongline is the most professional construction company that I have had the pleasure to work with. They are an extremely reactive and customer centric company, who have worked synergistically with Brother's architects, Lower Hutt-based Rowbotham and Boyd."

The project encompasses a 6000sq m warehouse, 1000sq m office and gym, 630sq m canopies and generous outdoor courtyard and amenities.

"We are building a highly specced office fit-out and warehouse designed to specifically suit Brother's racking incorporating significant costs associated with the new fire code," Ms Emerson said.

"It will be a complete turn-key project [constructed so that it could be sold to any buyer as a completed product]."

Element IMF won the contract after six months of negotiations. Ms Emerson said one of the key reasons for Brother's decision to move to Tauranga was the significant real-estate cost savings.

Brother commissioned Deloitte to evaluate all cities with ports throughout New Zealand. Deloitte recommended Tauranga for reasons that included access to the port, real estate and living costs, and seismic and tsunami risks in alternative locations.

Brother then considered its options in the Bay of Plenty and at this point Element IMF became involved.

Ms Emerson said that, as well as being a win for Tauriko Business Estate and for business in the region, Brother's presence in Tauranga would be an asset to the community.

"There is a culture within the company that you don't often see in large corporates. Their compassion and concern for their staff, in ensuring the relocation process is supportive and positive, has been paramount from day one."

Priority One chief executive Andrew Coker said Brother was "exactly the sort of company we wish to see establishing operations here".

"We are now seeing the pay-off from investment by our local authorities in areas such as roading, and by the private sector in supporting the building of our region's competitive advantages," he said.

"The Port of Tauranga is a massive draw card to businesses like Brother, and the very significant investment by the owners of the Tauriko Business Estate are examples of the sorts of advantages that high-growth companies are looking for."

Chamber chief executive Max Mason said Brother's relocation was significant.

"Firstly it's a huge international brand and others will be more inclined to follow. Secondly, their adviser Deloitte recommended Tauranga after an objective comparison of other cities, which is a very credible independent verification of Tauranga's qualities. And thirdly, we have beaten out Auckland as a more attractive business location, which says heaps."

The jobs and additional business generated would add to the community, he said: "Nothing succeeds like success, and Tauranga's reputation as the sweet spot of New Zealand continues to grow."

Mr Crosby said the relocation would be significant for Tauranga.

"It will signal to the international community that Tauranga is a place where you can do business effectively and efficiently."

The relocation could also be expected to bring in employment opportunities.

"And having people from an international company like Brother based in Tauranga will raise the capability and add value to our whole business network."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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