A new multi-million-dollar hydraulics and engineering facility planned for Rotorua has been hailed as a "game-changer" for the industry that will create dozens of new jobs.
The new 2000sq m two-storey building at Eastgate Business Park off Te Ngae Rd, near Rotorua Airport, will become two flagship workshops for McRaes Global and IMG.
It will also be a "Rotorua hub", creating employment and training opportunities for the hydraulics and engineering sector in the wider Bay of Plenty.
The Rotorua Lakes Council said the consent application for "ground improvements" was being processed.
Christina Humphries, Rotorua branch manager of hydraulics and engineering company McRaes Global, said the company had grown steadily in the past four years.
Humphries said the Rotorua branch started on Scott St in a small workshop with only a handful of technicians before moving to its current location on Old Taupo Rd.
"But it became quite clear after about 12 months that if we are going to get to where we wanted to be in Rotorua then we would need a much bigger space."
New Zealand-based industrial specialist Integrated Maintenance Group (IMG) bought McRaes Global in 2019 and employed more staff.
Humphries said there was a "massive" lack of workshop space in Rotorua, so finding a large commercial space big enough proved difficult, she said.
But local developer Ray Cook bought a 1.4-hectare site at the Eastgate Business Park off Te Ngae Rd.
"The rest is history," she said.
The company now had four technicians, a service manager, a business development manager and a technical solutions engineer, Humphries said.
"Previously those guys were all based out of Auckland, so to now have them specifically in this region is such a big win for the branch and helps us continue to grow."
Humphries said the new build meant everything from engineering and hydraulics to fabrication could be done under one roof.
It will be a "game-changer" for the industry, she said.
"It's a massive project... We like to call it the Rotorua Hub. It's a one-stop-shop.
She said the building was planned to be completed by 2022.
Humphries said it was exciting to be able to be expanding amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It was amazing to see that as a company we have been able to maintain and in some areas even blow out, bringing in more revenue than the year before during Covid.
"It goes back to the hard work that we have put in to get to where we are."
McRaes Global chief executive Jim Evans said the new Rotorua hub would help increase the profile of IMG and McRaes Global in the area.
McRaes Global has been in Rotorua for nearly seven years after securing a national hydraulics services and solutions contract across New Zealand.
"We didn't have a presence in Rotorua, so as part of that contract we had to start from the beginning in terms of finding a location and employing staff...
"We first acquired a small hydraulics company to give us a base. But we outgrew that. We've been in the current location for two years now and we have outgrown this one."
Evans said he expected there would be about 20 people employed at the Rotorua branch within the next 12 months.
"It is realising good growth," he said.
"There's no reason that can't be 50 in two years' time. And that is just a stepping stone to what is possible."
Evans said hydraulics was an area where skillsets were limited in the market, and part of the commitment to the new build was to provide a training ground for people in the area.
"We see the Bay of Plenty region as a huge opportunity."
IMG director Bruce Bonner said the new building will be a "state-of-the-art flagship" workshop for the area.
Bonner said the company already had engineering branches in Kawerau and Kinleith but the new hydraulics Rotorua base would give them a "much wider footprint" in the Bay of Plenty.
"It means we are able to support employment in the area, particularly Rotorua, and neighbouring cities like Taupō, Tauranga and Whakatāne."
Developer Ray Cook, of R&B Consultants, said the building will be leased back to IMG as the tenant.
There will be about 40 construction jobs created at peak construction, he said.
"It's great for Rotorua as it creates ongoing employment in the area."
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said it was positive news.
"The new engineering shops at Eastgate will be a welcome addition to Rotorua's currently substantial engineering and fabrication sector."