Tauranga downtown's Wharf St retailers are backing a Wharf St Eat St revitalisation plan which would turn the area into a full pedestrian-friendly vibrant dining precinct.

A concept plan to revitalise Wharf St East from The Strand to Willow St will be considered by the Tauranga City Council's City Transformation Committee on Monday.

The concept mirrors similar dining hubs in other parts of the country, including Rotorua.

As well as the full closure of the street to traffic, other features include using reclaimed wharf timbers for furniture and around existing trees.


Suspended over the length of the street would be a series of lighting "clouds" and more trees would be added to provide extra shade.

The street structure would provide for flexible dining zones, and iwi co-designed carved bollards with narratives would help reference the cultural significance of the area.

Pending council approval, the project would proceed to a $190,000 detailed design stage.

Estimated construction costs were $2.9 million, and the project would be funded out of the City Centre Investment Fund.

Sandra Johnson, co-owner of the Dry Dock Cafe, said she and other business owners in the street were excited by the opportunities the "Eat St" project offered.

"I think it's very exciting. A lot of work has gone into this. We have done the trials, and we know it can work to make Wharf St a more exciting and vibrant dining hub, and also a great place to host lots more events.

"We know when we do hold events down here people absolutely flock into the area and this will give them another reason to want to spend more time in the area.

''As a business owner, we have all invested a lot of money to be here and contributed a lot of investment to keep our businesses running and thriving."


Johnson said the precinct would also have economic spinoffs for the rest of the central business district.

Wharf St restaurateur Josh Fitzgerald agreed.

The "Eat St" project was a "no-brainer" and provided an important opportunity for the city to springboard off the vibe created by the waterfront redevelopment.

Crown and Badger owner Jessica Rafferty said Wharf St had long needed a "little bit more love" and this project was the opportunity to do that.

"I love the concept, and it's really important we get council's full backing to do this as it will not only help to create a greater buzz in Wharf St but the whole downtown area.''

Downtown Tauranga's Sally Cooke said the proposal had been worked on for some time and was absolutely needed to help revitalise the area.

"We welcome Tauranga City Council embracing this project."

City Transformation Committee chairman Larry Baldock said there was wide support from businesses that fronted Wharf St to have the street closed to vehicles.

Feedback from the council's community consultation was overwhelmingly positive, and this upgrade project supported the council's Heart of the City revitalisation plan.

Baldock said if the project gets the green light from the council, construction could start next winter and be finished in time for next summer.