Almost 100 jobs are set to be created with construction of a new retail complex at Fairy Springs and a central city restaurant underway, while Kmart has also confirmed it is planning to come to Rotorua.
The new shopping complex on the former Oderings site on the corner of Fairy Springs Rd and Old Quarry Rd has started with 10 shops while family restaurant Cobb & Co has started work on its new building on Fenton St.
Retail complex developer Tony Bradley said after a few hold-ups during the resource consent process, work was powering ahead on the site.
Mr Bradley said he hoped to have the centre open late March or early April and he expected it would create about 60 jobs.
He was not ready to announce which outlets would be moving into the development but said all but one of the shops had been leased.
Mr Bradley said they had worked with neighbouring Selwyn School to address some of the concerns around safety.
One of those was providing a footpath inside the complex so students could walk through it safely.
After months of rumours, Kmart has confirmed it is looking for a site in Rotorua and is interested in Rotorua Central.
"There are quite a few elements that have to be taken into consideration when confirming a site from a building perspective," a Kmart spokeswoman said.
"We also need to review the size of population, demographic, and other tenants in a building.
"There are many parties that need to be consulted also. We're hoping to finalise the plans early next year.
"However, construction of the store will take approximately 12 months," she said.
Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust client manager Peter Faulkner, of Deloitte, confirmed they had been in discussions with Kmart but wouldn't be in a position until early in the new year to confirm if the department store would be coming to Rotorua Central.
He said if Kmart came to Rotorua Central "it would have a positive reflection on the site and the city".
"It just shows there is a demand from major retailers to have representation in the town."
This month contractors completed most of the work on covering Rotorua's Central Mall and will be off-site until next year.
Mr Faulkner had said builders would return early in the new year as there was still work to be done on new premises on the northern side of the new Paper Plus. Glassons has also moved to Rotorua Central.
On Fenton St, work has started on transforming the former Kurious Kiwi building into the new Cobb & Co, which will feature a restaurant, function room and bar set-up and kids' play area.
Cobb Group Ltd chief executive Derek Edwards said people would start to see changes to the outside of the building shortly.
Mr Edwards said they still planned to open in mid-January and were currently recruiting staff.
The restaurant was expected to employ between 25 and 30 people.
Mr Edwards said the restaurant would seat up to 250 with a separate function room and a saloon bar.