The $15.5 million development that spruced up inner Whangārei's Kensington has led to a sale and the prospect of ratepayer funds being sunk into similar projects.
Northland Regional Council bought the former Countdown supermarket site about five years ago.
In the years since, the supermarket moved on and development on the site saw a medical centre, food outlets, a dentist and a gym built. A childcare centre is currently being added to the precinct.
The council's plan to keep Kensington Crossing and use rental money to pay for its other activities - or to subsidise rates - changed after a slew of offers to buy it.
Council chairwoman Penny Smart said the offers came even though the property hadn't been on the market. A "particularly strong offer" from a Whangārei investor led to the sale, with Smart saying the regional council was "delighted it has remained in local hands".
Smart wouldn't disclose how much the redevelopment had sold for although said the money would be used for further redevelopments.
"This has been a highly successful redevelopment, bringing services, activity and jobs to an otherwise underutilised location."
She said the council had plans to do the same to other areas "in and around Whangarei's CBD" with property it owned. Doing so would create "hubs of activity" that brought together and motivated communities.
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Northland Chamber of Commerce president Tim Robinson said any form of investment was welcomed but was "delighted" the public sector - the council - had stepped up.
Robinson said that the regional council - were it looking for somewhere to invest its returns - could use the money for the Oruku Landing development in the Whangārei town basin.
Both the district and regional councils had pulled away from the proposed conference and events centre, which had attracted $60 million of Provincial Growth Fund money. Without council support of about $30m, the central government funding would be lost.