Mystery still surrounds the identity of further occupants of Napier's old railways yards shopping centre development.

But, according to usually reliable sources, the development, led by Waitangi Tribunal post-settlement entity Mana Ahuriri, doesn't include a swimming pool, despite the appearance of a sizeable drainage pond during extensive ground works over recent weeks.

The 1.28 hectares railway yards site off Munroe St and just a short distance from the Napier CBD, landbanked by Land Information NZ in 1994 for use in Napier area claim settlement, is being prepared for the building of a shopping complex expected to house three large-scale retailers.

Plans were released in June last year revealing two of the stores would be occupied by Rebel Sport (2099sq m) and homeware store Briscoes(1319sq m), both operated by Briscoe Group and currently on separate sites several hundred metres apart in Hastings St.


Briscoe Group chief executive Rod Duke said it is hoped Rebel Sport and Briscoes will operating from the new site by Easter next year.

Its leased Rebel Sport site opposite the closed Napier City Council civic building is earmarked by new owners as a hotel development, while the Briscoes store site it owns further south in Hastings St is currently up for sale.

Despite the passing of 11 months since an announcement of railway yard site plans, no occupant for the third shopfront has yet been publicly confirmed by project manager Warren Ladbrook or Mana Ahuriri Ltd director Barry Wilson for the 907sq m third shop.

The site will include parking for about 300 shoppers' vehicles.

In July last year Wilson said the development was part of a "strong investment portfolio" for Mana Ahuriri, with up to 50 projects.

"Through our Treaty settlement, Napier's retail and commercial sectors can expect to see a great improvement in the overall offering," he said at the time. "This will attract business and more investment, enabling economic growth and new jobs."

Among the projects the proposed development of two sites involving a total of 36 hectares off Prebensen Dr on the northern flank of the city adjacent to the Onekawa and Pandora industrial districts.