Napier's business landscape is getting a $100 million makeover, in a move that hopes to transform the whole dynamic of commercial and retail over huge areas of Ahuriri.
About two years after the completion of the Ahuriri Treaty of Waitangi Settlement, Mana Ahuriri - the post-settlement governance entity established to receive and manage the settlement - has set out a bold vision to become one of Hawke's Bay's largest commercial property and asset owners, announcing new developments worth more than $100 million as part of the first phase of a growth strategy following its treaty settlement.
Mana Ahuriri represents the Ahuriri and Napier areas with 2500 members, and directors of the trust's subsidiary, Mana Ahuriri Holdings Limited, Barry Wilson and Warren Ladbrook, have launched a visionary plan that they believe will transform the commercial and retail landscape in Napier.
Wilson, who was the lead negotiator of the Treaty Settlement and worked closely with the Crown, said commercial growth in much of Napier City had stalled due to a lack of land for development in key areas - until now.
"Through our Treaty Settlement, Napier's retail and commercial sectors can expect to see a great improvement in the overall offering. This will attract business and more investment, enabling economic growth and new jobs.
"The new developments are part of building a strong investment portfolio with a solid revenue base and ongoing cash flow, representing long-term business partnerships and sustainable growth to support and benefit the trust's 2500 members.
"This is an exciting time for everyone in Hawke's Bay. We will be creating great opportunities for our members and also for the people of Napier and the wider region.
"The first 10, of up to 50 different projects, have the potential to create more than 1000 new jobs alone," he said.
Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said Mana Ahuriri plans were robust, progressive and would breathe new life into Napier.
"Our region is already in good heart, and Mana Ahuriri vision will help to ensure that the growth we are enjoying now is sustained well into the future.
"I'm particularly pleased at the many opportunities for employment these projects will afford our community – they'll not only bring new blood into Hawke's Bay, but ensure our top local talent find reasons to stay, work and live here."
The first project, a Large Format Retail (LFR) development at Napier's 65 Munroe St, would begin in September.
Ladbrook, who was also the project manager, said the $20 million project would create a 6000sq m large format retail strip that would house high-profile retail chains including Briscoes and Rebel Sport, along with more than 150 customer car parks.
"The aim is to centralise and consolidate LFR in Napier and is part of our vision of providing a better retail offering and experience, with greater employment opportunities."
The next area for development would be Napier's Prebensen Dr industrial zone, where the trust would develop two sites covering 30ha and 6ha.
"Already there is strong interest in this $40-$60 million project from Blue Chip, long-term clients," he said.
The Mana Ahuriri treaty settlement with the Crown was signed in 2016, and the majority comprises over 90 per cent of Crown land assets along with $19.5 million cash.
Following the settlement, Mana Ahuriri Trust also has a 50 per cent shareholding in Ahuriri Airport Hawke's Bay.
The latest announcement is expected to be the first of more developments to come.
Over the next decade, Mana Ahuriri Trust intends to develop high profile retail and industrial zoned sites, significant residential developments, commercial investments across Napier, forestry and the Ahuriri Landcorp Farm.
Wilson said Mana Ahuriri Trust was fully committed to working towards cleaning up the Ahuriri Estuary, and protecting the ecology of the area, which holds significant cultural and historical value to trust members, for everyone to enjoy.
"Another highlight of all our new building developments will be the introduction of subtle but important Mana Ahuriri Trust influence in both look and feel, projecting the connection and cultural values on both the architecture and landscape."
The Hawke's Bay Regional Council is also pleased to be working closely with Mana Ahuriri on the future management and restoration of the Ahuriri Estuary.
Chairman Rex Graham said the development on Napier's Prebensen Dr presented an opportunity to showcase best practice commercial design and stormwater management.
Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford said it was a "fantastic" announcement.
"The region is doing very well and this type of investment usually attracts more. Sharpening up the entry corridor to Napier along Prebensen Dr will be great along with the employment opportunities these spaces will provide.
"With an emphasis on the estuary I can see the whole dynamic of that area changing to Napier's advantage. Marine Parade looks amazing and this development will only add to the attractiveness of this region."