Big developments are planned for Ōtaki Yard, the former Caltex site on Main Rd with almost $3m being invested into the site by developer Nigel Ross.
"The plans include a large restaurant/bar and a walkway with speciality shops, as well as a market and a food-truck area," Nigel said.
But with resource consent holding up the plans, Nigel said it was not fair to the town for the property to remain vacant any longer.
"Although the final resource consent for our comprehensive development of Ōtaki Yard has still not been granted, we felt our site, which forms the focal centre of Ōtaki's shopping offering, could no longer sit empty, and so we are opening a temporary market on what will be the permanent market section as soon as we receive resource consent," Nigel said.
"There are too many shops that are currently vacant in Ōtaki, and it is not fair on the traders and residents of Ōtaki to leave our site completely empty any longer.
"This market will bring the much needed additional customers to Ōtaki, and pave the way for the exciting full development of the site once consent is granted."
With a desire to make sure Ōtaki stays on the map once the expressway is completed, commercial manager Nate Cornish believes the market will highlight Ōtaki and New Zealand's artisans and become a destination to travel to, not just through.
"We want to bring together the best growers, crafters, makers, bakers, and more, and make it the market that people of all ages and stages cannot wait to go back to."
"We are looking to stimulate the local economy and turn Ōtaki into a renowned destination.
"Our goal is 100 stalls, selling high-quality goods including fresh produce, homewares, jewellery, cured meats, cheeses, bakery items, flowers and New Zealand artisan products.
"We want to make it local, but by local that can be New Zealand artisans, as we also want to bring something different to the area."
Nigel has observed high quality markets as an international trend and said it makes sense here.
With the new highway development, the Ōtaki Yard presents a unique and exciting opportunity to capitalise on the large amount of traffic going right through the centre of town, said Richard Innes of Barak Property, managers of Nigel's New Zealand portfolio.
"There seemed to be a prevailing view that Ōtaki would go backward after the expressway by-passed the town but Nigel formed a view that if the traffic problems were solved, there was an interesting retail offering."
Nigel and Nate also see an increasing demand in the market for fresh produce and a greater awareness around where and how food is being produced which has led to a sustainable focus.
Eventually the generously sized, high stud shed and the ex-service station retail building will be refurbished to house long-term tenants such as a micro-brewery/distillery or cafe with integrated retail, but in the meantime the market is seeking stall owners with a sustainable focus.
Partnering with Ecoware, Nate said the partnership will provide retailers with discounted compostable food service products, which will be composted to cut down on the amount of single-use plastics entering landfills.
"We are endeavouring to have a single-use plastic free market."
The market can house up to 100 stalls as well as food trucks and other food offerings every weekend, and will be an attraction for families, food lovers as well as those seeking gift ideas.
Ōtaki ward councillor James Cootes has been involved in the supporting the project from the very beginning.
"I have been working with the team to help this development progress, so Ōtaki Yard can commence trading. It's what the town needs and I'm really looking forward to opening day."
The first market will be held on March 21, running from 8am-3pm.
For stall holder enquiries or more information contact Nate via firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.otakiyard.nz