The hunt is on for a "sweet operator" to run their cafe business within a leased area at a Visitor Experience Centre being built at the historic Chelsea Sugar Refinery on the shores of Auckland's Waitemata Harbour.

JLL is working with the New Zealand Sugar Company Ltd to promote the business opportunity and wants to hear from cafe business operators interested in running a business within a leased 170sqm indoors and 110sqm outdoors area at the Chelsea Sugar Visitors Centre.

"The Chelsea Bay experience will include an informative factory tour, interactive educational exhibit and a baking school at the Birkenhead site," says JLL national director of retail Chris Beasleigh.

"The big pink sugar factory on the edge of the harbour in Auckland's Birkenhead is fascinating. Having been known as the Chelsea Sugar factory since its inception in 1884, NZ Sugar is on track to open its doors to the public next year, inviting visitors to experience an operating sugar factory."

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Beasleigh says the construction of Chelsea Bay is well under way with the cafe space due to open in April 2018. Visitor numbers to the centre are expected to total around 50,000 per year.

By partnering with Goodman Fielder, Chelsea Bay is destined to become the home of Kiwi baking, Beasleigh says. The cafe will feature the Chelsea, Edmonds and Meadowfresh brands in the baked goods on offer.

"While our goal is to locate an experienced operator to run the Chelsea Bay Café, it obviously helps if this operator loves baking," says Beasleigh.

"The intention is for the cafe to be a fun, open and relaxed location for visitors, with indoor, outdoor flow and will be located right on the water's edge next to the soon to be built playground area," he says.

"There are 41 primary schools within a 5km radius of the site, which is indication that many visitors will be families with young children. We envisage the cafe with the playground right next to it and sea views will be an idyllic location for families."

Tourists spent a total of $7951 million in Auckland for the year ending August 2017 and it is expected Chelsea Bay will become a popular destination.

"NZ Sugar has been working closely with Auckland City Council and Auckland Transport, to ensure opportunities are maximised to make Chelsea Bay a special destination."