Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Business leaders buoyed by surge in building consents

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Artist's impression of the five-storey office and retail complex on corner of Third Ave and Cameron Rd.
Artist's impression of the five-storey office and retail complex on corner of Third Ave and Cameron Rd.

The value of Tauranga consents hit $62.4 million last month with a 47 per cent increase in the number issued, including a five-storey office and retail block and a new shopping complex

Data from Priority One revealed 203 consents were issued in April 2016 up from 138 in April 2015.

The value of consents jumped 50 per cent compared with $41.6 million in April 2015.

Business leaders said the increased activity reflected strong economic growth and investor confidence and the city was "pumping".

Artist's impression of The Lakes shopping village.
Artist's impression of The Lakes shopping village.

The report highlighted a lift in commercial consents that soared to $24.3 million from $14.9 million in April 2015. The three largest recorded were an office development on the corner of Third Ave and Cameron Rd ($14.7 million), a shopping centre at The Lakes ($2.2 million) and a warehouse/office at Tauriko Business Estate ($1.3 million).

Meanwhile, residential consents were valued at $30.6 million ahead of the $23 million issued in April a year ago. Last month, government and community consents reached $4.3 million, including three new classrooms at Tauranga Intermediate ($3.2 million).

Bayleys Tauranga commercial manager Dickie Burman said the new $40 million five-story commercial building on the corner of Third Ave and Cameron Rd was a joint venture between local developer Manor Group Investments and Auckland-based Watts Group Investment.

The site was being developed into a 7800sq m office and retail complex and once fully tenanted "over 600 people could be working in this building".

Mr Burman said the project, promoted as a "game changer", would have a very positive impact on the city's look and complement the other two recent major office developments, the ANZ Centre and the new Trustpower building. Already more than 3000sq m of the office space was leased with strong interest being shown by other businesses on the available space.

"It is great to see these developments happening and with other major projects being planned in the CBD, confidence in our wonderful city is really starting to gain renewed momentum," Mr Burman said.

Carrus general manager Scott Adams said the floor had just been poured for the new shopping centre at The Lakes, which would include a cafe, two takeaway shops, beauty therapy, a restaurant and Four Square Superette.

Scott Adams.
Scott Adams.

The keys would be handed over to the tenants in early September in order to be up and running by October - in time for the Garden and Art festival which would be held there in November.

"For years we've been being hassled by our residents for some convenience retail. It's taken us a while to work out the right footprint," Mr Adams said.

The original plan had been downsized slightly and the right number of dwellings had to be built before it became viable for the Four Square to move in.

Meanwhile, Tauriko Business Estate commercial manager Rachel Emerson said confidence was "exceptionally high".

It had a new stage plan due out next week and "I have 33 investors standing by to secure the best or most appropriate lots for their use".

She said she was fielding about 30 business inquiries a month about the estate.

Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said the commercial sector was particularly significant for the economy.

"These tend to mean larger developments of a significantly higher value than residential consents.

"In addition, strong growth in commercial building consents is a reflection of a more productive economy."

Priority One also believed the growth was more sustainable than other periods because there "has been strong job growth from businesses expanding and businesses relocating here from other areas".

Tauranga Chamber of commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said things "are still pumping in Tauranga. There's no let up as far as we can see".

However, one challenge could be keeping up with infrastructure and amenities.

Master Builders Association Tauranga president Johnny Calley said on the residential front there was still net growth which was anticipated to continue through this year.

- Additional reporting Amy Wiggins

- Bay of Plenty Times

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