Rebel Sport and Briscoes are set to move to The Park Megacentre in Hastings, with Megacentre owner Advance Properties Group receiving resource consent for the proposed move.
The new building would adjoin the former FCO building at the end of Holt Place, closing through access to the Megacentre.
Advance Properties Group director Warren Ladbrook said there were a number of challenges for the proposed move but size would not be an issue, as it was at the beginning of the year when Advance unsuccessfully sought resource consent for six shops with small footprints.
Hastings District Council originally made the former Nelson Park site available for large-format retailers after a public referendum in 2005, hoping its close proximity to the CBD would mean visitors to the former park would also shop in the CBD.
In a bid to stop the Megacentre competing directly with CBD retailers, the council put zoning rules in place under its district plan to not allow stores smaller than 1000sq m.
Central Hastings retailers feared smaller stores at the large-format shopping centre would gut the CBD retail precinct.
Mr Ladbrook said successfully wooing the publicly-listed Briscoe Group stores would involve finding tenants for their current site "but we believe there are options there".
Hastings City Business Association general manager Susan McDade said there was a lot of interest in Hastings commercial property, citing property analyst company Turley & Co's latest property report which said the replacement of the Albert Hotel with a park as a positive move on the eastern side of the CBD.
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said the current Briscoes/Rebel Sport site "was not part of the picture" for a hotel, despite it being directly opposite the Hawke's Bay Opera House, with part of the Opera House and Civic Buildings' site being considered for the $5 million project.
Meanwhile, rumours are rife as to where Bunnings' Hastings branch will move to, with its King St site earmarked for a multi-million dollar primary health centre.
The combined practice of The Hastings Health Centre and Totara Health was announced in April last year, with 40 doctors, 50 nurses and 70 other staff servicing 38,000 patients in 2017.
Two readers told Hawke's Bay Today Bunnings planned to move to the Carters site on Holt Place, but Carters said it had no knowledge of such a plan.
Totara Health general manager Emma Foster said it was "very early days" for the project "and we are still working through plans".
Bunnings NZ marketing manager Valerie Staley said the company had no plans to shut down the outlet, as it did in Napier. "We continue to keep our fingers on the pulse in terms of looking for a viable long-term site," she said.
Mr Ladbrook said the Briscoes/Rebel Sport site was too small for Bunnings.
There was good confidence in Hawke's Bay as a place by large property investors "but none of them act in a hurry" when completing due diligence.
"There is a lot of good news out there for Hawke's Bay and it will come through in the next 12 months," he said.