The best membership numbers in two years and the potential to host the "world's biggest" men's squash tournament are behind a million-dollar expansion to Tauranga's Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre.
The Tauranga City Council's latest building consent report showed $1 million was approved for two new squash courts and change rooms.
The project was among 165 building consents worth nearly $94m issued in December.
Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre operations manager Karl Brown said the expansion was in preparation for the world men's squash tournament in December, depending on Covid-19 developments.
"It will be the largest squash competition this country has ever seen."
The tournament was expected to attract hundreds of people with as many as 25 countries typically competing.
"It will be the best men's players in the world."
Brown said the $1.4m project included installing a glass exhibition court, bigger changing rooms and the latest product in "interactive squash".
"It's a new variation of the game. It's building the future of movement on a squash court."
He said it was the biggest expansion project the club had been involved in.
"The building is nine years old. It's the premier squash club in the country but this is going to take it to an extra level."
Growing membership numbers meant the expansion was going ahead even if Covid-19 prevented the competition from happening, Brown said.
"We're the largest squash club in the country with over 600 full members and over 250 casual members. That doesn't include schools, groups and business house," he said.
"We've done well post Covid. We were very nervous but our membership figures are sitting at the best they've been in two years. We've bounced back."
The new extension was expected to be completed by March this year, he said.
Building namesake Dame Susan Devoy said although the expansion was based around hosting the men's world championships it would be a huge benefit to the club.
"I think it's a really good example of a great community project that has been really successful."
When she moved to Tauranga nearly 20 years ago, Dame Susan - a four-time squash world champion - said it had taken years to decide to relocate to Devonport Rd.
"We would have never succeeded if it weren't for the generosity of the Tauranga Boys' College and the BayTrust. The stars aligned."
It was hard to attract new players to the game with rundown facilities so it was great to see more investment into the centre. Past players had also been returning.
"It's just gone from strength to strength."
Dame Susan said she had taken up coaching and was "really enjoying it".
Sport Bay of Plenty communication and operations manager Melanie Short said as neighbours to the squash club, the organisation's team was delighted about the club's expansion.
"We're really pleased for them to have this opportunity to expand. They're a great club."
Short said having a good facility was important for everyone in the community to be active.
"We all understand the positive benefits of that for our mental and physical wellbeing."
Thirty Eight Elizabeth
Meanwhile, $45m was approved for the interior fit-out and services to the Elizabeth Towers, as part of the much-anticipated Farmers Tauranga development, recently rebranded Thirty Eight Elizabeth.
The new Farmers flagship store as well as a retail and dining precinct, 97 luxury apartments and 23 sky townhouses, will be known as Elizabeth Towers.
"We are coming into 2021 with enthusiasm as we push on to complete this $200m legacy project for the heart of Tauranga city," said project manager Brett Nicholls.
"The international standard and flavour of the structure and its presence is now really starting to take shape."
Nicholls said it was important the project moved quickly.
"We understand our customers want to come back to Farmers' corner to shop, but there is also already unprecedented inquiry for the apartments.
"The ease of inner-city living that Elizabeth Towers will offer will be totally new to New Zealand ... This really is the future of living well."
The latest Stats NZ data showed there were 2001 new dwellings consented in the Bay of Plenty in the year to November 2020. That included 159 in November alone.
A total $2m was approved for the construction of a new six-classroom block at Greenpark School.
Principal Gareth Scholes said the project was to improve school facilities for the children.
Scholes said the school was also working on installing a new turf, redeveloping the school entrance and completely refurbishing three older classrooms.
"The kids are really excited."
The new classrooms are expected to be completed by September this year, he said.
Also approved was a $6m consent for an apartment block on Te Paeroa Rd opposite the Bethlehem Birthing Centre.
Soho Group development manager Tyler Tabak said the consent was for three, three-storey apartment blocks with a total of 42 units.
Major consent applications issued value over $1m
6 Te Paeroa Rd
Erect three, three-storey apartment blocks with a total of 42 units.
Amendment 1: 1. Upper-level unit layouts to match the same as ground floor unit layouts. 2. Updated midfloor design to align.
339 Matakokiri Drive
Construct single level, 14 unit industrial building.
12 Kaweroa Drive
Construct four-unit industrial building with mezzanine floors.
2 Waiawa Lane
Construct single level five-bedroom dwelling domestic dwelling with attached triple garage.
236 Devonport Rd
New two-storey dwelling with four-bedroom, and study, with attached double garage and retaining walls.
38 Elizabeth St
Building consent 7 - Interior fit-out including services to apartment towers.
406 Devonport Rd
Addition to existing squash club - two new squash courts and change rooms.
13 Lumsden Street
Demolition of Block C, D and H. Construction of a new six-classroom block. Clad wall of Block SN.