Road works at a busy Whangarei intersection have further stalled the sale or lease of the old Countdown building in Kensington.

The building, owned by the Northland Regional Council, has been vacant since June 2014 when former tenant Countdown, previously Woolworths, moved to Regent. The supermarket had been at the Kamo Rd-Kensington Ave corner since 1988.

Regional council spokesman Phil Heatley said the property was not formally on the market due to roading improvements being carried out at the Kensington Ave/Kamo Rd intersection.

The NRC, he said, was working through Public Works Act processes with Whangarei District Council in order to provide a small portion of the NRC land at the intersection for road works.


Late last year, WDC agreed to pay compensation to a family trust which owns a slice of land on the former Countdown site for road improvements.

The T & ANH Damerell Family Trust holds a form of licence over a small portion of of land on that site which WDC needs under the Act to carry out improvements.

Mr Heatley said the regional council has leased out a significant area of the vacant site to the road construction company's vehicle and equipment given the convenience of contractors to carry out road works from the area.

"While not proactively marketing the site for these reasons, we do field occasional enquiries about leasing or purchasing the site.

"We've provided information and there are some interested parties who are considering their options".

He said the regional council may start marketing the site prior to or after the completion of road works by the end of this year.

Initial plans by the regional council to develop the site as a medical precinct were stalled after the sale of the building for use as a medical centre fell over.

The regional council then pursued investment opportunities, and called for expressions of interest from potential joint-venture partners to redevelop the former supermarket site.


The 9967sq m site consists of 12 lots and in late 2014 had a land value of $3.635 million and capital valuation of $5.625 million.

The site was originally bought as a commercial investment and had not been inherited from the former Northland Harbour Board, as had other council properties.

Last year the NRC turned down a proposal from Whangarei disability support group NorthAble to buy the property and turn it into a medical precinct.

NorthAble offered NRC $2.4 million for the site but the council instead decided to go with its own plan for a medical precinct there.