Projects worth $37.6 million were approved in Tauranga last month - $4.1m up on the same time last year.

The figures included $1.8m to strengthen and modernise a prominent central city building.

Scott McKenzie, chief executive of Property Managers, which represents the owners of 46 Spring St, said half the building did not meet the new earthquake standards and needed to be strengthened in the next few years so the owners had decided to give the place a facelift.

"It's a decent sized project. The building itself is in two halves. One half is fine and the other side is slightly below where we'd like it to be," he said.

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"Because it's such a prominent building in the CBD it's a good opportunity to ensure we can retain our existing tenants and bring new tenants to the building."

Mr McKenzie said a new corporate tenant had signed up to move into the building. He said it was a national firm that would have about 15 staff based in the Spring St office.

"We're taking the opportunity to update and refresh the canopy and facade really just to sharpen the appearance from the street. The arcade entrance will be updated."

The arcade would also be rebranded and known as the Ray White Arcade, Mr McKenzie said.

Hoardings would go up at the end of the month and work was due to be finished towards the end of April next year.

Palm Beach Plaza in Papamoa was also given consent to start the $1.5m replacement of its southern facade. The upgrade is all part of the shopping centre's multimillion-dollar revamp and expansion and will see the size of the shopping complex increase by 50 per cent.

Palm Beach Plaza manager David Hill said work was ahead of schedule.

The first stage, which would be finished by early December, included the redevelopment of the entry way, the facade on the outside and some store refits, he said.

Stage two was scheduled to start in February and would take most of next year. The final stage would get under way in 2016.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dave Burnett said he was still seeing plenty of confidence within the Tauranga business community despite the value of commercial consents dropping by $1.7m compared with September last year.

"I don't see it slowing. I still see that growing. With the commodity prices dipping, particularly in the dairy industry, but I don't think that's going to have a huge impact down here," he said.

"When you look around at some of the subdivisions you still see the pads going down, frames going up. I still think there's a lot of positivity out there."

Mr Burnett said the drop in the number and value of commercial consents was a blip that he did not expect to see repeated.

Tauranga building consents

September 2014
Total value: $37.6m
Total number: 162

September 2013
Total value: $33.5m
Total number: 147