The Historic Village has gone from a "desolate" area to a 100 per cent tenancy rate - with tens of thousands more visitors and a renewal programme in full swing.

The news comes as steel framing goes up for an $11 million community business hub led by the Tauranga Energy Community Trust within the village grounds which has capacity for 135 people and 30 to 40 not for profit organisations.

Figures from the Tauranga City Council show entries through the main gate at the village had soared from 149,000 to 172,000 a year from August 2015 to August 2017 - and was currently averaging 16,639 visitors a month.

The council had also allocated $1.5m on maintenance and renovations in the current financial year which included $960,000 for a re-roofing project.


Historic Village team leader Blair Graham said it was fair to say in the past ''the village had lost its way and it didn't have an identity''.

But once TECT bought the land for its Kollective Hub it ''really signified the starting point'' and had consequently given the village ''a new lease of life''.

''We are working towards creating a fit-for-purpose, vibrant and sustainable community destination.''

At the moment a new roof was being put on one of the main complexes that had 13 tenants.

''They are old buildings and a lot like teeth, once you pull them out you can't put them back again, and they are very expensive to maintain.''

By his calculations there 57 tenetable buildings and although there was one upcoming vacancy it had already received five applications and a waiting list.

''So we are actually at 100 per cent occupancy.''

The village had a mix of community and commercial tenants from retail to arts, help and advice, venue hire and events.

The Incubator Creative Hub would celebrate five years at the village in October and its director, Simone Anderson, said they always had faith it was the place to be.

''It was really desolate when we first moved in, and the feedback from people was really negative. There were naysayers always moaning how it had not been looked after.''

She credited Blair with its reinvigoration and said: ''When he arrived he was like a little firecracker''.

Anderson said there had also been a knock-on effect as the neighbourhood was gentrified with other buildings going up in the area.

Fineline Tattoo Studio owner Corey Kuka said the village had ''a nice old school feel to it''.

Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin said it had operated from the village for 20 years and the investment from the council was welcomed.

''It has had a major investment over the last couple of years but could offer more with more retail. The atmosphere around the village is great and could be improved with theme days and theatre promotions with dinner and shows in the evening.''

But parking was a major issue since the development of other business and education centres at the 17th Avenue Business Park.

''If you haven't got a park by 8am you are likely to miss out''.

In response, the council said it had 136 car parks at The Historic Village.

They were allocated as part of tenants' lease agreements, and it had plans for additional parking while The Kollective Hub was adding parking to accommodate its tenants.

Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said the city had grown which had put even more demand on accommodation for community groups at an affordable rate.

''When the village changed from being like a semi-museum, with dropping attendance, to more of a community focus more people started going down there.''

$11 million Kollective Hub on track

The Kollective, a community business hub located within the Historic Village is well under way. Photo / John Borren
The Kollective, a community business hub located within the Historic Village is well under way. Photo / John Borren

Expressions of interest from not for profit community groups to be part of a new $11 million business hub has exceeded expectations.

The Kollective Hub is a Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust initiative that would be managed by SociaLink, a separate trust that provides support for the social sector.

TECT general manager Wayne Werder said the co-working, contemporary building that was located within the Historic Village could house 135 people and 30 to 40 different groups.

It had a $10m to $11m budget, and 60 per cent occupancy had already been achieved from groups that wanted to be part of The Kollective.

''I think it's fantastic and a great opportunity for groups to collaborate, work together and deliver more community outcomes.''

The biggest project of its type in New Zealand it had also fielded interest from around the country from organisations that wanted to do something similar, he said.

The Kollective manager Gordy Lockhart said it was working closely with groups that had signed up for a residential membership.

There would be 135 fixed and flexie desks with TECT, Bay Trust and the Acorn Foundation taking 15 of those while six meeting rooms including a large conference facility that could be divided in two were also part of the design.

''The whole point of a co-work space is to create an environment that encourages collaborative work, communication and connectivity.''

Meanwhile, it was working on a total transport solution plan that would include pool electric cars, electric bikes, push bikes and small scooters.