The 2015 Rotorua Central Business District vacancy survey has shown a drop in the number of vacant office and retail buildings.

The Central Mall and Eat Streat lead the way.

However, not all areas are displaying positive turn-arounds with vacancies in the main Tutanekai St strip shopping area increasing since 2011.

The survey, conducted by Telfer Young, showed there were five vacant shops in December last year, on par with December 2014 but up on the two reported vacancies in 2011.

Advertisement

The positive trend was highlighted in January when the Rotorua Daily Post conducted its own informal survey, counting 78 vacancies in the CBD.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Darrin Walsh said there was no reason to panic about the increase in vacant buildings on Tutanekai St.

"There are certain pockets around the CBD where people like to have their businesses, but I don't think people need to panic about the main stretch of Tutanekai St. The developments around opening up City Focus and the extension of the night market will likely have a positive effect on the street, it's just too early to tell."

Mr Walsh said he was not surprised there was more take up and fewer vacancies than last year.

"We are definitely seeing and feeling businesses coming to town and existing businesses growing, so the overall figures are no surprise."

The survey results showed there had been both a drop in the number of vacant retail shops and in the amount of vacant retail space in square metres. The retail vacancy rate was 15.4 per cent with 82 vacant shops. This compared with 87 vacant shops in 2014 and 85 in 2013.

Of those vacancies, 23 were in the Hinemoa Arcade building, with the majority being vacant since they were redeveloped in 2011.

The report stated Rotorua Central Mall and Tutanekai St were the prime retail shopping areas in Rotorua, and had the highest pedestrian counts respectively within the CBD. The Rotorua Central Mall was almost fully occupied, with the exception of 119sq m between Countdown and Dick Smith.

Rotorua Central Mall representative Peter Faulkner said the survey was a reflection of the investment into the site.

"There is a very positive trading environment and we are continuing to get enquiries, despite having no space to accommodate them. Those businesses we have to turn away are looking elsewhere and that overflow of demand is having a positive effect on the CBD."

The lowest vacancy rates in Rotorua CBD were in the Rotorua Central Mall, Eat Streat and surrounding the Rotorua Tourism Centre on Fenton St.

Indian Star owner Ray Singh said the growth in the area was noticeable.

"Eat Streat has made a big impact on this area and business activity has increased significantly.

"If you come down to Eat Streat between 6pm and 7pm you will be hard-pressed to find an empty seat - it is bustling, thriving."

Mr Singh said a good business would be successful in any location but Eat Streat had a certain atmosphere that attracted patrons.

"There is a community here between the business owners as well which impacts on how well everyone does."

Within the office sector, there had also been a noticeable decrease in vacancy rates since 2014 which now sat at 15.3 per cent.

According to the survey, a large factor in the drop had been the withdrawal of the 10-storey Zen building which had been vacated to be converted into a hotel.

The tenants that relocated from that building now occupied various buildings in the city.

In 2015, the number of vacant office suites decreased to 57 and were seven less than the previous year.

Rotorua Lakes Council inner city portfolio leader and councillor Karen Hunt said she was delighted with the results.

"The survey reflects the confidence of business owners in the city and the work being done not only by the council but the community as well."