An application for a privately funded $75 million Omokoroa town centre development has been submitted to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council for resource consent.
The submission for 404 Omokoroa Rd, by local business JACE Investments Limited, is to be considered by the council as part of its Omokoroa Structure Plan for the long-term development of land between the peninsula's railway line and State Highway 2.
The proposal features staged development of a multipurpose retail, commercial and social community hub. Shops, cafes, offices and a civic centre are included along with a possible cinema and multiple green spaces that could accommodate the likes of a farmers' market.
Company Director Craig Lemon said the vision for the town centre design, aesthetics and ambience had been carefully considered to reflect the lifestyle, character and environment of Omokoroa.
"Extensive planning and reviews have been undertaken including architectural and urban design concepts, transport, geotechnical, economic, cultural and archaeological assessments," Lemon said.
The 7.9 hectare site includes 5.3 hectares already commercially zoned.
The remainder is categorised as Future Urban. Located next to the proposed future school, within walking distance of new residential developments and linked with a pre-existing network of walkways and cycleways, the town centre would be easily accessible for locals and surrounding rural communities.
Fully serviced by waste and stormwater infrastructure, Lemon said their proposal was less exposed to lengthy regulatory, land procurement and town planning processes of other options being considered by the council.
"In a post-Covid environment, our plans are potentially shovel-ready and can help stimulate significant local economic activity and jobs.
"Our understanding of local government procedures indicates that other state highway-oriented options under consideration by council could take two to three years to progress to the point we are already at."
If approved, the JACE Investments proposal would see an unprecedented level of private sector investment in Omokoroa backed by a financially stable and reputable local company.
Lemon said they believed that with further consultation, their fit-for-purpose model could meet the needs of the growing Omokoroa community over the next 30 to 40 years without the need for further public investment or an impact on ratepayers.
"We think that many residents would favour our proposal as the preferred alternative to universally designed highway-based stopover concepts".