300 jobs at planned supermarket site

By abbey.hartevelt@dailypost.co.nz, Abigail Hartevelt

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A convenience retail complex proposed for Lynmore which will include a supermarket is expected to create almost 300 jobs.

Holmes Group owns a 2.7 hectare site at 346-352 Te Ngae Rd, which was formerly Holmes Packaging opposite the entrance to Iles Rd. That business was sold in 2000 and the site is currently leased to Sealed Air (New Zealand).

Holmes Group managing director Ryan Holmes said Sealed Air (New Zealand) was expanding its Hamilton site. Mr Holmes said they had consulted with Sealed Air (New Zealand).

The directors of Holmes Group said they had identified there was a real risk that the lease might not be renewed by the current tenants in September 2014 when the tenants' first term expired.

Holmes Group had tried to attract other businesses to the site but there had been no interest due to the economic conditions and the size of the site.

"As a result, Holmes Group has decided to apply now for resource consent, so it is in a position to redevelop the site should this be necessary," Mr Holmes said.

On Tuesday, the developers will apply for resource consent to develop the more than $10 million "supermarket-based neighbourhood centre".


 


Mr Holmes said the proposed centre, which would be known as Lynmore Junction, would include a supermarket, fast food outlet, medical centre, service station, other convenience retail as well as 379 car parks. He said the centre would create an estimated 296 jobs.

The large building currently on site would be refurbished for the supermarket and the rest of the buildings on the site would be demolished and the site rebuilt.

Mr Holmes said they were keen to ensure the convenience retail areas of the centre were occupied by quality brands, generally new to Rotorua, that would not cause retailers in the CBD to relocate.

"That is one of our prime concerns - that we don't affect the CBD. We don't want to hurt the CBD anymore than it is being hurt at the moment," Mr Holmes said.

He said an economic assessment report they had commissioned identified a need for a supermarket in the eastern suburbs.

Mr Holmes said they had received some interest in the complex but could not comment further at this stage, citing commercial sensitivity.

If resource consent was granted, work on the new complex would not likely be able to start until mid-September 2014.

The developers have been working on the resource consent application for the past 10 months and have consulted with affected iwi, the Lynmore community and Lynmore Primary School and also met with Rotorua District Council staff and neighbouring businesses of the site.

Mr Holmes said they held a community meeting recently and invited about 80 local people to attend. About 12 people turned up at that meeting and another meeting was planned for January 23.

Consultation with iwi was ongoing but they had received support from Maori trustees who owned some of the land Lynmore Primary was on.

"I don't want to comment on how iwi will ultimately respond but the feeling we have is that they will be supportive, but we can't take that for granted."

The developers said they also had the support of Lynmore Primary subject to conditions relating to traffic and pupil safety being met.

Their traffic report indicated a roundabout or traffic lights be installed at the intersection of Iles and Te Ngae roads.

"Te Ngae Rd is a state highway. We have been in contact with the New Zealand Transport Agency and we have not had a formal response."

Sealed Air regional purchasing manager for Australia and New Zealand Robert Di Giacomo, who is based in Melbourne, said he was "not at liberty" at this stage to say whether the business would be renewing its lease after September 2014.

"We have a legal obligation to inform the landlord 15 months out [from the end of the lease]."

Dr Di Giacomo said the Holmes Group as landlord was entitled to do what it thought was best for its business.

"I'm not prepared to compromise our position. We have a legal right to stay on that site beyond September 2014 provided the landlord gives us that opportunity," Dr Di Giacomo said.

He said he did not know if the 125 staff at Sealed Air (New Zealand) in Rotorua had been informed of the Holmes Group's intentions.

Mr Holmes said the resource consent application was to be lodged on Tuesday and he expected it would be publicly notified a week later with submissions closing on February 5.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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