Some of the city's biggest commercial developments have pushed the combined value of Tauranga and Western Bay building consents over $1 billion for the third consecutive year.

Priority One's latest figures show $870 million worth of consents were issued in Tauranga and $236 million in the Western Bay last year - a total of more than $1.1b.

Six consents totalling about $56m were issued for the Tauranga Crossing development in 2018 alone, as well as five consents worth more than $31 million for the expansion of Bayfair Shopping Centre.

A $19m consent was issued for the groundworks of the Farmers redevelopment, as well as $13m for extra units at Pacific Coast Village.

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A consent worth $5.7m was issued for a Quest hotel on Devonport Rd, $4.9m was issued to convert the Old Post Office on Harrington St into a boutique hotel and restaurant, and $3.8m for the next stage of the Zespri head office development.

City and business leaders say there is no sign of the construction industry slowing down. There are millions of dollars worth of future developments under way or planned in the CBD alone.

Priority One project manager Annie Hill expected the value and number of building consents to ramp up from late January after a quiet December because of the Christmas break.

Hill said there was $350 million in private and public sector investment planned in Tauranga's city centre alone in the next few years.

"So we are confident the construction sector will continue to perform strongly," she said.

Hill said key drivers of industry growth were the rising number of businesses expanding or moving to Tauranga.

Business confidence had resulted in strong job growth in the past few years, Hill said.

A recent Priority One survey showed 84 per cent of people were confident in the future of their business and 86 per cent about the future of the local economy.

"This ongoing confidence indicates that the construction sector will continue to be strong in the medium term, at least," Hill said.

"We are increasingly being seen as one of the best places in New Zealand from which to do business, live and work."

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief Stan Gregec said Tauranga was on a solid course for growth.

"I don't see this slowing down at the moment," he said. "We are finally starting to get some of the big developments and new infrastructure that has long been overdue in a city that is now New Zealand's fifth-largest urban area."

Gregec said the construction boom had been one of the drivers of Tauranga's economy in the past few years. "We still have a long way to go," he said.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said surpassing $1b in consents for the third year in a row showed confidence in the economy.

However, he said the city's roading infrastructure issues such as State Highway 2 congestion needed to be addressed to be able to continue economic confidence.

There was $12.3m worth of commercial consents issued in Tauranga in December.

One large commercial consent was issued for an extension to the Bernadette aged-care facility at Taupo Ave worth $7.7m.

Max Robins, chief executive of CHT Healthcare Trust which owns Bernadette, said the consent was to refurbish and modernise some of the old rooms built in the late 1960s to early 1970s.

Robins said the company had recently built a laundry building in Tauriko and the plan was to demolish the original building that was on site, as well as some of the old rooms.

"We will be building a new wing and a new kitchen for the site," he said.

Only 87 of the original 113 beds were being used because of the age of some of the buildings.

The site was being developed in three large sections, which included building a new two-storey building and refurbishing the old hostel and rooms.

"We will end up with a 90-bed site," Robins said.

The aim was to build smaller 10-bed "wings" each with their own kitchen and bathroom to create a more "community feel".

The site was being developed in two stages.

The first stage began on January 14 and included a complete rebuild of one of the old buildings. The second included a refurbishment to be finished by the middle of 2020.

There was $1.9m worth of commercial consents issued in the Western Bay, $1.8m of which was for stage two of a development at Seeka.

"Seeka's investment into the expansion of the facility is a reflection of the continued growth in the kiwifruit sector and the economy of the region," Western Bay of Plenty District Council building services manager Chris Nicholson said.


Building consents - December 2018 summary
Tauranga City
Total value: $45.5m
Total number: 165

Single/multi dwelling consents
Total value: $27.5m
Total number: 51

Commercial consents
Total value: $12.3m
Included: $7.7m for an extension to the Bernadette aged-care facility at Taupo Ave
Total number: 39

Government & community consents
Total value: $872,000
Total number: 5

Western Bay of Plenty
Total value: $20.5m
Total number: 68

Single dwelling consents
Total value: $10.4m
Total number: 19

Commercial consents
Total value: $1.9m
Included: $1.8m for stage two of a development at Seeka
Total number: 2

Government & community consents
Total value: $5.6m
Included: $5.2m for a cycle bridge over SH2 at Te Puna
Total number: 2

Source: Priority One