More than $40 million was approved for commercial building consents in Tauranga last month including "a great milestone" for one of the CBD's largest developments.
City business leaders say the number of commercial consents approved in Tauranga City Council's latest report showed confidence in the growth and "bright future" of the city.
The report showed 32 commercial building consents totalling $40,270,861 were issued in May. That included $22m for the interior base-build fit-out and services to the retail tenancies part of the Farmers building on the corner of Elizabeth St and Devonport Rd.
Downtown Tauranga's chairman, Brian Berry, said the commercial consents were spread across multiple sectors which reflected confidence in the growth and future of Tauranga.
"Most of these projects will involve multiple local consultants, contractors, labour, and material supplies, which will flow through to sales of retail products and services in the greater community."
Berry said the Farmers development was the largest being undertaken in the CBD and its mixed-use nature including retail, hospitality, car parking, and apartment living will only benefit the city centre.
He said the development will lead the way for other mixed-use developments with a significant focus on increasing inner-city living, "which is really necessary for the CBD to thrive and reach its potential".
"Visually and physically, the significant scale and quality of the Farmers development will encapsulate the southern boundary of the CBD.
"It will increase the perception of the city centre as a dynamic destination to visit following a challenging period of seismic strengthening and streetscaping projects, competitive pressures from a proliferation of suburban shopping centres and, of course, internet sales."
Berry said multiple other developments were either under way, especially on The Strand, or in the planning stages. That included the major six-storey office and retail development at 82-98 Devonport Rd and the redevelopment of 2 Devonport Rd.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said while Covid-19 had enabled more flexible working arrangements for many professional businesses, there will still be a need for people to come together at a central hub.
"The CBD is the best place for professional businesses to meet and collaborate."
Cowley said the CBD had a bright future with a number of developments still in the pipeline.
"Most of these developments include elements of accommodation for inner-city living, which will be attractive as people get re-introduced to peak-hour traffic congestion after lockdown."
Bayleys Commercial Tauranga sales manager Mark Walton said he was encouraged by the number of commercial developments that were in the pipeline and progressing post lockdown.
"We are working with a number of developers over the last month on mixed-use developments and commercial projects right across Tauranga.
"There is still a strong underlying confidence from investors that the longstanding demographic and economic drivers of Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty will see our fast-growing region continue to lead the country in terms of business confidence and economic growth."
Walton said his team sold an industrial property in Tauriko last week for a near-record yield of 4.5 per cent, with more than 60 inquiries and three of the five offers were from investors outside the Bay.
"Investors from across the country continue to see Tauranga as a very desirable place to invest."
The Farmers development was "vital" to the revival of Tauranga's commercial sector, Walton said.
"It also gives other landowners and developers the confidence to invest and deliver a more vibrant city centre, lending support to long-term commercial property fundamentals across the CBD.
"We see the Farmers development as the catalyst for the major rejuvenation of the CBD."
The commercial building at 82-98 Devonport Rd also continued the positive momentum on the back of the Farmers project, he said.
"This will support demand for commercial space to serve a growing concentration of apartment dwellers, students and workers."
Elizabeth Properties Limited project manager Brett Nicholls said the latest building consent was "a great milestone" for the development and marked the final building consent for all retail works.
"It signifies that the development is moving forward despite the uncertainties that have presented themselves over the last few months.
"We are committed to not only returning Farmers to the CBD but creating something truly special for Tauranga city through our retail, dining, and luxury residential offering."
Nicholls thanked the community for the "overwhelmingly positive" support received so far.
"There is strong interest already in the apartments and townhouses and we look forward to sharing more information when we can."
He said his team was committed to not selling off the plan.
"We want buyers to see first-hand the level of detail and workmanship that has gone into apartments and townhouses once complete."
There are three more building consents to come for the duration of the project, which all relate to the apartments and townhouses.
Major consent applications issued value over $1m
38 Elizabeth St
Building Consent 6 - Interior fit-out and services from basement to underside of podium. Consent will provide base-build fit-out and services to retail tenancies only
43 Karewa Pde
Construct new two-storey dwelling with four bedrooms and attached double garage, Escea EK950 woodburner Amendment 1: Amended pages that were not supplied during processing
23 Forstera Way
New two-storey dwelling with four bedrooms, attached double garage and workshop $1.1m
75 Curly McLeod Way
Proposed additional Heavy Industrial workshop
138 Totara St
Alterations to the existing building and the demolishing of an office extension
8665L State Highway 29
800m warehouse and 300m office space with 200m external canopy
41 Taitimu Rd
Stage 3 Building consent covering the automated shuttle racking installation in the new cool store extension
327 Matakokiri Drive
Construct new warehouse complex - two blocks of seven units (14 units total)
76 Taitimu Rd
Stage 2 of industrial shed and office - claddings, floorslab, carpentry, windows and finishes
59 Ruba Way
Erect a single-level three-bedroom dwelling with attached double garage and retaining wall