It currently boasts 200 hectares of industrial and commercial development and employs more than 5700 people in more than 400 businesses. So what’s next for the ever-growing Tauriko Business Estate, and just how big will it get? Zoe Hunter reports.
Tauriko Business Estate could be the most sought-after industrial and commercial land in Tauranga, with a flood of city businesses choosing to leave behind smaller workshops to move into the rapidly expanding business hub.
Right now, a $400 million plasterboard manufacturing and distribution plant is taking shape on a 12-hectare plot of land. A mega-mall that already fills 35,000 square metres with retail and hospitality businesses is also looking to expand later this year.
There are currently about 200ha of industrial and commercial development, more than 400 businesses and 5700-plus people employed within Tauriko Business Estate.
And it’s still growing.
Building consents valued at nearly $78m were issued last year for building projects in the area.
Once complete, Tauriko Business Estate will cover about 300ha of industrial and commercial development, have more than 16,000 employees and more than 1000 businesses.
But there is still a lot of work to be done on transport infrastructure to open up more land for development.
The next stages
Tauriko Business Estate director Bryce Donne says more than 80 per cent of businesses in the area are local companies that have expanded and need more space.
Others have arrived from out of town, including newcomer Winstone Wallboards’ Gib plant, which has the biggest spot in the business estate on 12.8ha of land - and global electronics and manufacturing company Brother, which moved its headquarters to Tauriko in 2016.
Donne says many companies moving to to Tauriko Business Estate want to operate owner-occupier models, which means the average size of buildings sought by those businesses is getting “significantly bigger”.
Businesses like the estate because it’s an area where “they feel they are building value in their business and their land”.
Earthworks for the business estate first began in 2006 and “Stage 3A” is now being developed.
Donne says Stage 3 was “by far” the fastest-selling stage of the development.
“We sold them all in about a week.”
About 25 of the stage’s 30 titles are about to be issued, he says.
“About 75 per cent of them are intending to build immediately. I expect the council is going to get heaps of consent applications.
“You will see things springing up here quite soon.”
Stage 4 will provide up to 100 extra hectares of industrial land.
However, further development is constrained until the State Highway 29 connection at Redwood Lane is in place.
Donne says the estate is working with Tauranga City Council and Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency, and consulting with nearby landowners, to “get that linked up as fast as we can”.
Growth is ‘revitalising’
Damian and Catherine Fleming moved their business Bayride Motorcycles into Tauriko Business Estate three weeks ago.
Their new store on Matakokiri Drive is four times the size of their original business on Cameron Rd.
One of the biggest reasons for the move, Damian Fleming says, was space.
“We could not get the kind of space we needed in the middle of the city. Our new site is amazing.
“It is revitalising the space that is out here. It feels like our wings have opened.”
The move was eight years in the making, he says.
Their business had suffered a “huge decline” in foot traffic on Carmeron Rd over the past 18 months due to roadworks and limited parking.
“It just wasn’t working. Our future in the city was just over, which was a real shame.
“This gives us a 10-year plan and security.”
Fleming said the new “bigger and better” store was attracting new customers from out-of-town places such as Rotorua, Taupō, Matamata and Whakatāne.
“It is just so easy to get to.”
It has also been exciting seeing customers from the Cameron Rd store walk in with big smiles, he said.
“Hundreds of our existing customers have come in to check us out and are pretty much high-fiving us. They are surprised to see how big it is.”
Fleming says they have also expanded the business to include marine products, with new Yamaha WaveRunner personal watercraft as well as e-bikes and more clothing and accessories.
About a dozen people are employed at Bayride Motorcycles Tauriko store, and Fleming said the new site meant there was an opportunity to increase staff numbers.
Winstone Wallboards’ programme lead Stewart Vaughan says building and infrastructure works and mechanical and electrical installation of the plasterboard line at its new Gib plant are about 90 per cent complete.
It is also about halfway through building the batch plaster and compounds plants, he says.
Vaughan says it has filled all of its roles, and on-boarded two of four intakes of new staff, with the final intake starting in May.
The proximity to the Port of Tauranga, major road networks, and groundwater capacity needed to support its manufacturing process were key reasons for choosing to build at Tauriko Business Estate, he says.
Vaughan says the company was impressed with the work done to reconfigure part of Tauriko Business Estate’s Stage 3 development to accommodate its 12.8ha site within the timeframes needed.
“But it was more than that. What struck us was that real sense of being part of a development centred around community partnerships, all aimed at creating a wealth of economic benefits and job opportunities to enrich the region.”
It plans to progressively bring its product range online from April this year.
“We are aiming to have our first saleable standard board product available at the end of May.”
It plans to be fully operational at the end of October. A separate processing plant on the same site that manufactures the Gib plaster compounds range is scheduled to be commissioned in late September or early October.
Brother New Zealand has installed a solar energy system consisting of 168 x 455-watt solar panels at its Tauriko-based warehouse and offices.
The technology company expects to reduce energy emissions at the site by 43.5 per cent as it makes the most of the Bay of Plenty’s high-ranking sunshine hours and growing options for commercial solar-powered systems to generate over 90,000 kilowatt hours a year, emissions-free, on its roof.
It expects to recoup the initial outlay of around $120,000 within seven years through power generation.
The 6656sq m building in Tauriko houses Brother’s printing, labelling, sewing and craft products and a 45-strong workforce.
Brother New Zealand managing director Warwick Beban says the initiative is good for the environment and the business.
“It feels good to see this idea come to fruition. Knowing that a good portion of the electricity we use comes from clean, renewable energy that we generate ourselves helps us extend that commitment further into our business operations.”
Brother opened its new head office and warehouse at Tauriko Business Estate in 2014 after it commissioned Deloitte to evaluate all cities with ports throughout New Zealand. Tauranga was recommended for reasons including port access, real estate and living costs, and seismic and tsunami risks in alternative locations.
Tauranga Crossing chief executive Lauren Riley says the first stage of the lifestyle centre, which includes Gilmour’s, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Farmers, opened in November 2018, with the next stage due to open towards the end of 2023.
It was currently building immediately next to Farmers and expected to announce stores later in the year.
Riley says the 35,000sq m shopping mall included more than 125 stores and eateries, with the lifestyle centre expansion expected to bring new 5760sq m and 850sq m large format retail stores and 185 car parks. The mall employed more than 1000 locals in part-time and full-time jobs across retail, entertainment, and food and beverage outlets.
“The number of jobs we create for the community will continue to grow as we grow.
“We are planning further stages for Tauranga Crossing shopping and lifestyle centres, and look forward to sharing further updates as we finalise plans.”
Tauriko in hot demand
Tauriko commercial and industrial sales consultant at Property Brokers, Philip Hunt, says despite being slightly affected by the “downturn” of the market, owner-occupiers are still keen to buy and have “substantial interest” in tenants.
“I have never seen tenant inquiries so strong.”
Hunt says inquiries are coming from “all sorts” of businesses either relocating from out of town or older industrial areas, plus others who had outgrown their home offices and wanted to move into small industrial units at Tauriko.
“The demand just seems to be getting greater and greater as we grow,” he says.
“We are in a unique bubble here.”
The “trucking hub” being built opposite Winstone Wallboard’s site is going to add “major benefits” to the logistics industry as it’s so close to the Port of Tauranga, he says.
Bayleys Tauranga commercial manager Mark Walton says there has been a severe shortage of industrial-zoned land in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty in the last five years, and Tauriko Business Estate is popular with tenants wanting land within a manageable distance to the Port of Tauranga.
“Tauriko Business Estate is the only industrial subdivision in greater Tauranga that provides vacant land options of any scale.”
The number of inquiries for industrial buildings over 2000sq m in the last few months in transport, logistics and warehousing is “huge”, but there is very little supply, he says.
“Most new land out at Tauriko Business Estate is tightly held, and there have been limited releases of new sites over the last two years.”
Walton says the industrial category has been the most attractive for investors in the last few years, and Tauriko Business Estate has delivered “exceptional” capital growth over a sustained period.
“High occupier demand and a secure growth pipeline make property near the Port of Tauranga a sound investment bet.”
Vacancy rates for leased properties at Tauriko Business Estate are possibly the “lowest we’ve seen”, with no options over 750sq m that are built and ready for immediate occupation, and he recommended tenants with larger requirements begin considering their options 12 to 18 months before their lease expiry.
“We are working with a significant volume of tenants on design-build projects, which contrasts to previous years where tenants have expected to find tenant-ready built options.”
$78m in building consents
Tauranga City Council team leader of structure planning and strategic transport, Alistair Talbot, says the council has received 50 building consents valued at nearly $72m, plus 56 amendments valued at about $6m, between February 2022 and 2023 for building projects in Tauriko Business Estate - a total value of nearly $78m.
It has received seven consents and nine amendments in the last three months.
Talbot says it is working with the main land owner to identify what is needed for a Private Plan Change proposed to rezone land in the lower Belk Rd area to allow for the extension of Tauriko Business Estate.
It is also working towards public notification of the proposal to rezone land at Tauriko West in mid-2023.
“There will also be further opportunities for the local community to have input into the final details of the plan change, as well as roading connections and stormwater plans before the rezoning is complete.”
The council will also liaise with Waka Kotahi on long-term plans for SH29 and SH29A throughout the process. It is also in the early stages of scoping potential for rezoning the Keenan Rd area to allow for growth.
In September, Tauranga’s Western Corridor was selected as a potential Specified Development Project (SPD) area by Kāinga Ora, which could speed up much-needed development.
The proposed project area under assessment includes Tauriko West, Keenan Rd and Tauriko Business Estate’s Lower Belk Rd extension.
Proposals for the wider area include the development of new housing and employment areas, an improved transport network and community facilities, including schools and amenities such as green spaces.
Kāinga Ora’s national manager of specified development projects, Bryan Patchett, said its project team has been identifying constraints and opportunities relevant to the project under the Urban Development Act and engaging with Tauranga City Council, Waka Kotahi and other agencies, as well as meeting with mana whenua.
“We have met with key developers within the proposed Specified Development Project area to help us understand how an SDP will relate to other projects in progress, including at Tauriko Business Estate.
“In December, we wrote to land owners to provide further information on the process. As we continue to work through the SDP assessment process, we expect the public engagement phase to occur later this year.”