A prime retail site on the outskirts of downtown Tauranga has attracted a last-minute rush of offers from developers.
The $3 million council-owned Marsh St property, handy to the Harbour Bridge and Chapel St, has drawn three offers, with a strong possibility that more would be received by the deadline at the close of business yesterday.
The 7640sq m former Placemakers and Monier Tiles sites is large enough to accommodate a supermarket, with speculation Countdown or New World could end up going into such a building.
Council property manager Anthony Averill said they had received three conditional offers in the past week for either the whole site or the 1900sq m portion that formerly held the tile shop.
"Other people have indicated strong interest and we are waiting to see if they put pen to paper by the end of the day. It is a sign of a bit more confidence in the market."
The resurgence of interest in the Marsh St site coincided with the council taking a step forward on the planned joint venture development of the Mount Maunganui Shopping Centre's $6.5 million Phoenix Carpark.
A taskforce comprising the Mayor Stuart Crosby and councillors David Stewart and Wayne Moultrie has selected a preferred developer from a shortlist of four.
Councillor Moultrie said they were in discussions with the developer and hoped to be able to make an announcement in the near future. The preferred developer put up the best proposal by "quite a wide margin".
The development will include a two-level parking building running along the rear of the 4.2 hectare site, with the main building featuring an active retail frontage on to Maunganui Rd, with offices upstairs.
Cr Moultrie said it was a spectacular proposal but they had learned from the Pilot Bay boardwalk backlash.
"If it proceeds, there will be extensive public consultation first."
He would not be drawn on the details of the development because it had not been before the full council, except to say the main building had the capacity to go to three storeys, although it was unlikely to exceed two.
The Phoenix Carpark was the jewel in the council's list of properties earmarked for sale over the next four years in order to raise up to $18 million of much-needed cash.
Meanwhile, the speedy progress on the council's Marsh St property follows the lapsing of a conditional sales contract signed five months ago. Since then, the property had been marketed by a number of real estate companies.