Investor confidence is being credited for a boom in Tauranga commercial property consents as values jumped 22 per cent compared to the same time last year.
Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said the pace of growth had accelerated during the first 10 months of this year.
She said from January to October there was $270.9m in commercial consents up from $222.6m in the same period in 2017.
"This reflects the ongoing confidence of investors in commercial property due to unprecedented levels of growth in the business community, with companies based here expanding and new businesses relocating from elsewhere."
There had been strong growth in commercial builds in the last three years, which reflected of a more productive economy, she said.
Meanwhile half of the $81m worth of building consents issued in Tauranga last month were for commercial developments.
Nearly $40m for 66 commercial building consents was issued by the Tauranga City Council in October, according to Priority One's latest monthly building consents report.
The largest consents included $1m for alterations to the Mitsubishi Motors showroom, $1.1m for the infrastructure works at Copper Crest Retirement Village, $4.5m for the fit out of Tauranga Crossing's new cinema complex, and $19m for the ground works of the Farmers development.
The total value of building consents was the largest issued by the city council in the last five months since a record $113m was issued in May 2018.
Hill said the Farmers development, which received the highest value commercial consent in October, demonstrated the maturity of the city as a retail and leisure destination.
She said the apartments included in the large-scale development would mean more people will be based in the city centre 24/7.
"This will encourage the private and public sectors to invest in further amenity and create a more vibrant inner city," she said.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief Stan Gregec said the new Farmers building will be a game changer for that end of town.
"Together with other new commercial and shopping projects, we're going to see Tauranga CBD transformed completely in the next few years," he said.
"A lot of people might be seeing construction and inconvenience at the moment; but we need to see through and beyond this to what Tauranga will become in the not too distant future."
Gregec said the city can expect to see some "new buzz and vibe" happening fast when the university opened next year. "Tauranga CBD has a very bright future ahead."
Spokesman for Elizabeth Properties Limited, part of the James Pascoe Group that owns Farmers, Brett Nicholls said the demolition of the main structure was almost complete.
Nicholls expected the retail part of the development will be open within two years, with the apartments and town houses planned to be completed by 2021.
"The building is being constructed under an accelerated timeframe to minimise disruption and provide certainty to Farmers' customers, staff and the public," he said.
"Our vision is for this fantastic new building to be a catalyst for the reinvigoration of the CBD."
About 400 workers were expected to be involved when construction was at its peak.
Tauranga Crossing chief executive Steve Lewis said the $4.5m consent was for the fit out of the development's Event Cinema complex.
Lewis said well in excess of $150m had been invested into stage two of the development, which will include the six-screen Event Cinemas, restaurants, eateries and fashion stores.
The bulk of the $150 was being invested into construction contracts with Bay of Plenty businesses and jobs for their construction workers, he said.
"When we complete stage two next year, we estimate that the retailers at Tauranga Crossing will be employing about 1000 people in retail jobs."
Stage two was expected to be completed in April 2019.
Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said it was positive that the city's retail facilities were up to scratch as more people moved to the area.
"No doubt the new [Farmers] complex will bring jobs and with more jobs comes more money being spent in the area," he said.
Brownless said the CBD development would also attract more businesses to the area.
"Success tends to attract success," he said. "More people want to go there and others want to set up business there."
Building consents - October 2018
Total number: 228
Single/multi dwelling consents:
Total value: $34.2m
Total number: 86
Total value: $39.4m
Total number: 66
Government and community consents:
Total value: $1.7m
Total number: 10
Western Bay of Plenty:
Total value: $20.4m
Total number: 106
Single dwelling consents:
Total value: $15.1m
Total number: 33
Total value: $607,000
Total number: 5
Government and community consents:
Total value: $175,000
Total number: 1