Two large towers of townhouses, restaurants and retail space promise to bring a "Melbourne feel" to Tauranga.
Bay of Plenty Times Weekend can today reveal an artist's impression of the proposed $100 million-plus CBD building at the intersections of Elizabeth St, Devonport Rd and 1st Ave.
Plans show the building will include 73 apartments and 23 townhouses within the towers, which will sit above a two-storey retail space. The retail area is planned to offer a strip of cafes and restaurants along Elizabeth St with balconies overlooking the city centre.
Elizabeth Properties - part of James Pascoe Group which owns Farmers and other retail brands - said the cafes and restaurants were included as part of a global trend towards broadening the experience of shopping.
The nine-storey building will also feature 320 car parks on five levels, 180 of which will be publicly available.
Spokesman Brett Nicholls said Tauranga would be among the first cities in New Zealand to experience this level of sophistication.
"People are looking for a whole new experience when they go out.
"They're enjoying a quality meal at their shopping destination, rather than eating and shopping separately," he said.
The plans also aim to transform a lane between Elizabeth St and 1st Ave with hole-in-the-wall eateries accessible to pedestrians.
"We're aiming for a Melbourne feel, with outdoor seating and dining," he said.
"Features such as these will be a real catalyst for change for Tauranga's CBD."
The company's intention behind including the two-to-three-bedroom townhouses as part of the accommodation was to offer would-be residents greater choice, Mr Nicholls said.
The images have been released after meetings with iwi, Heart of the City, Tauranga City Council, Priority One, Downtown Tauranga and neighbouring businesses.
The consultation was essential and a public open day was planned for the near future, Mr Nicholls said.
It was crucial the new building fitted in with the character of Tauranga's downtown area, he said.
"A development on this scale is a tremendous commitment, but it's one we're willing to make because Farmers has played such an iconic role on that corner. We have faith that Tauranga is ready for this kind of development, and we intend to deliver."
The company expected to lodge consent application before the end of this year, but an opening date is unknown at this stage.
Further details of the proposed development come after the Tauranga City Council announced plans to rejuvenate the city's CBD as part of its Heart of the City project, which asked residents what they would like to see.
"Fine grain" spaces such as laneways and creating precincts or mini-communities with the CBD were highlighted as areas of focus for the council.
Heart of the City committee chairman and councillor Larry Baldock said the Farmers redevelopment was "exactly what people have been saying they want".
"And we want to deliver very people-focused places with good vibes, not just square buildings."
Mr Baldock said the plans were the kind of thing "we want to see delivered to the city".
"I think what else is really cool is providing the lane with the hole-in-the-wall eateries. They are considering the public entrance to get from 1st Ave to Elizabeth St rather than people having to walk around the whole outside of the building."
Mr Baldock said the north-facing restaurants with decking would also be a warmly welcomed feature.
The building is one of seven planned city centre developments offering apartment living.
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said earlier this week the apartments would help meet the growing demand for inner-city living.
Looking at the emerging big picture for the downtown, with its planned new apartments, commercial buildings, university campus and 12-level student hostel, Mr Tutt said: "What we are seeing is a boom in inner-city development."
By the numbers
Six cafes and restaurants
Two levels of retail
320 car parks on five levels
73 high-end apartments