Bunnings Warehouse is moving to a bigger store in Hastings, creating 25 new jobs and spending $4 million on new stock and refurbishment of the former premises of The Warehouse on Market St North.
Bunnings general manager Jacqui Coombes said Bunnings Hastings was expected to employ about 50 people, with the existing team of 25 joined by about 25 new recruits.
"This new store represents an investment of over $4 million in the local community and all of our current team members will relocate to the new store," Ms Coombes said.
"There will also be approximately 25 new positions available in the Bunnings team, representing strong employment opportunities for local residents and school leavers."
The new Bunnings Hastings is expected to be open in December this year and will finally give Bunnings, Australia's largest household hardware chain, a chance to compete with Mitre 10 Mega.
Bunnings has had difficulty finding a suitable site for a large store in Hawke's Bay - the current site is small by the company's standards.
In 2004, Bunnings had an option to purchase the current Mitre 10 Mega site in Prebensen Drive but let the option lapse while waiting on ratification from its Australian head office, allowing the Hawke's Bay-based Ricketts family to secure the property.
In 2011 the Environment Court turned down Bunnings' appeal for zoning of a 10,263sq m site on the corner of Pakowhai and Evenden Rds because it was zoned for food production.
Bunnings closed its Napier branch in 2014 with the loss of 23 jobs, saying it was too small and it was actively looking for a suitable site in the area.
Turley & Co property valuation and strategy director Pat Turley said Bunnings' new Hastings footprint was much bigger than its current site.
"The Warehouse site ticks most of the boxes for Bunnings, it has for years struggled for a Hastings site big enough and one where it's not blocked," Mr Turley said.
"It will be good for The Warehouse's old site to be busy once more and better for the CBD than prolonged under-use and vacancy - a busy carpark should have spinoffs for nearby retailers."
The Warehouse moved to large-format retail centre The Park Megacentre on nearby Karamu Rd in 2011.
Until recently part of its former 4000sq m building was occupied by The Clearance Shed, which recently moved to the The Park Megacentre, where it occupies the former FCO building.
Bunnings' current King St site was to be the home of an aggregated Totara Health and Hastings Health Centre, but the project was abandoned early this year. Totara Health General Manager Emma Foster said there were no plans for the site.