Kmart is finally coming to Rotorua as the major tenant in a new $20 million development.
The Rotorua Daily Post can today reveal the new store is part of a major redevelopment of the Trade Central site on Amohau St which could see up to 13 stores added.
About 80 to 100 jobs are expected to be created by Kmart's arrival.
The development at the site will add an extra 8848sq m of retail space to the Trade Central site, which currently is home to Mitre 10 Mega and Hunting & Fishing.
Kmart will be the main new tenant but another "mini-major" is expected to take up the 2002sq m set aside for large-format retail. There is about 1203sq m for complementary retail - expected to house between eight and 12 shops.
The development is being done by Pukeroa Properties No2, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust.
Trust chairman Malcolm Short said securing such a major retailer as Kmart was a reflection of the strength of Rotorua's economy.
"Rotorua is a fast-growing and thriving city and this development is a reflection of that growth and activity.
"Kmart is a major player in the retail sector and will attract a lot of new customers to the area with their everyday low prices.
• Opinion: Hooray for Kmart
"This is an exciting development for Rotorua and we are thrilled by this outcome."
Mr Short acknowledged the hard-work of the Rotorua Lakes Council throughout the planning and consenting stages of the development.
"We have been lucky enough to work alongside such a proactive and efficient council that truly are working for the growth and success of our city."
Other new tenants are yet to be named, but Mr Short said there was strong interest from new-to-town retailers who wanted to be near Kmart.
"Kmart will be a real drawcard, not only for other retailers, but for locals as well from both a shopping and job-hunting perspective."
Mr Short told the Rotorua Daily Post they had been working with Kmart for several years but "couldn't quite accommodate them on Rotorua Central and the store was too big".
"They went away but they always had Rotorua on their minds and with the offer of the space at Trade Central they came back."
Pukeroa Oruawhata general manager Peter Faulkner said preparation work on site was already underway and construction was expected to start in early March.
He said subject to leasing, it was anticipated some of the stores would be trading before Christmas 2017. Kmart was expected to open early 2018.
Mr Faulkner said the general response had been extremely positive.
"We have held going to market [for the other spaces] in any degree of seriousness until we could announce Kmart. It is a reasonably significant draw."
He anticipated they would fill the extra retail space "fairly readily".
Mr Faulkner said the development's name was expected to change from Trade Central to something that better reflected the site.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the news was great for the city.
"It is a very big development."
Mrs Chadwick said it further highlighted the strong interest and confidence in Rotorua.
She said the spin off of jobs for Rotorua people was another big benefit and added to the business confidence which was already high.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Darrin Walsh said Kmart's arrival had been speculated on for a long time - but it was great to finally have it confirmed.
"That is another national brand that sees Rotorua as a good place to do business.
"It really just highlights our economy and how people are viewing it as a place to do business."
Mr Walsh said any development was good for Rotorua, particularly one of this scale.
A Kmart spokesperson said the company was excited to be coming to Rotorua.
"The entire Kmart team can't wait to make available our products at great low prices and we look forward to being able to support the local community."
- $20 million redevelopment
- Kmart expected to bring between 80 and 100 jobs
- About 13 other retail outlets
- First outlets open prior to Christmas 2017