One of the largest commercial sites in the heart of Tauranga is up for sale - with discussions of a major revamp in the pipeline.
Farmers department store in Tauranga's city centre may be set for a significant redevelopment once a new owner takes over at the end of this month.
The capital value of the property was $14.3million when it was last valued in July 2012.
The property at 119 Devonport Rd had already attracted 35 expressions of interest from potential buyers, including some from overseas, the managing director of Colliers, Simon Clark, said.
It is offered for sale by private treaty with a deadline of 4pm on Thursday July 30. Colliers would then decide who to continue working with.
Farmers can opt to stay on the current site until 2020 with the current lease running out in July 2016 and a four-year right of renewal.
However, the new owner would have the option of negotiating a longer-term lease with Farmers, which most interested parties would be looking at doing, Mr Clark said.
The current store was not big enough to display all of Farmers' stock and the company had indicated wanting to stay on the site in a new two-level, regular-shaped building with 3500sq m on each floor.
The current owner is a long-established family trust and did not want to redevelop the site, but the three-stage development in 1965, 1972 and 1974 had resulted in an irregular-shaped building with split levels.
A new owner would not be obliged to complete the redevelopment - which it would have to pay for - but it was "paramount" to secure a longer lease with Farmers and, therefore, long-term financial income for the owner, Mr Clark said.
"It's vital for the CBD.
"If you lose Farmers from the CBD, you lose a lot of key customers from the city."
About six of the 35 parties were in the process of doing due diligence on the property, he said.
The redevelopment would probably result in a two-storeyed extension on the Elizabeth St side of the building, taking it from 5987sq m of floor space to 7000sq m.
It would also mean the end of the current Farmers' carpark in Elizabeth St, but would probably not affect the carpark in 1st Ave, Mr Clark said.
The property's Information Memorandum said the owners had discussed with the Tauranga City Council the possible use of the adjoining carpark building in Elizabeth St for Farmers' customers.
" ... the Council seemed supportive of accommodating such an arrangement," it stated.
Tauranga City Council communications manager Aimee Driscoll said the council had already planned to add a new level (110 spaces) to the carpark, but that it was an independent project.
"All we've said so far, to a couple of interested parties, is that we would [be] more than happy to work with any future owner/developer to accommodate a development in proximity to our carpark building.
"It is too early at this stage to know what that might be.
"However, if a future developer wishes to link their development to our building we would be happy to discuss their requirements," she said.
Farmers did not respond in time for this issue of the Bay of Plenty Times.