Those wanting to snap up one of the 100 jobs at Rotorua's new Kmart will be able to apply for key roles in December.

Progress at the Kmart site at Trade Central off Amohau St will move quickly in the coming days, with the roof of the development set to go up.

The soggy start to Rotorua's spring hasn't had too much of an impact for builders who were able to get on with other parts of the shopping complex development, according to Pukeroa Oruawhata Group, which owns the site, general manager Peter Faulkner.

There will be at least 140 jobs created at the new site once Kmart and about 12 other retailers open as part of the $20 million development.

K-Mart under construction on the Trade Central site on Amohau St. Photo/Stephen Parker
K-Mart under construction on the Trade Central site on Amohau St. Photo/Stephen Parker

Kmart alone will have 100 jobs and a spokeswoman told the Rotorua Daily Post this week key roles would be advertised in December. She said the remainder of the jobs would be advertised in January.

Mr Faulkner said Kmart was not only creating excitement among shoppers, but also among other businesses that were showing strong interest in coming to Rotorua and being a neighbour of the successful big box brand.

He said there were still three or four sites, or a total of 330sq m, left to lease.

Some of the retailers planned to open before Christmas with the others open early next year. Kmart plans to open before Easter on April 1 next year.

"There's extremely strong interest because people want to be next to Kmart and they see the benefit of having three strong anchors in Kmart, Mitre 10 Mega and Hunting & Fishing."

He said all interest was coming from new businesses or those wanting to expand. None were moving out of the central city.

Mr Faulkner said wet weather in recent weeks had delayed builders putting on the roof but they were able to carry on working on other areas.

The roof would be up by the end of this week if weather permits.

He said the glazing would go up on the convenience retail, which was the sleeve running along the front of the complex, soon before work would start on the cafe, which would be on the southern side of the Kmart entrance.

Trade Central will in time get a new name to better reflect the nature of the businesses.

Missed opportunity

Rotorua's CBD could have been the home of the city's first Kmart but a site big enough with parking space and at a reasonable rental wasn't available.

Long-time Rotorua developer Ray Cook has questioned why the Rotorua Lakes Council didn't fight harder to have Kmart in the city's central business district.

But the council, Kmart and its developers, Pukeroa Oruawhata Group, said they had looked at the option but it didn't stack up.

Mr Cook, who owns R&B Consultants, said while it was great news Kmart was coming to Rotorua, it would create a shake up of other businesses and he believed it would have a big impact on the city centre.

He said instead of giving resource consent to build the Kmart development at the Trade Central side, on the fringes of the central city, the council should have encouraged it into the city centre.

"We have got too many empty shops there, it would have been good to take a block out and turn it into a big shopping complex.

"We haven't really increased our population that greatly, the market share will just be diluted. That's my pick, I could be proven wrong but you have to wonder where all these extra people to shop are going to come from and there will be a battle now between the big box retailers and the central city."

Council group manager operations Henry Weston said the city was fortunate the big box retail areas at the Central Mall and Trade Central were very close to the central city.

He said the link between Central Mall and the CBD would be further improved as a result of work planned for Amohau St.

"Council does at times work with businesses and developers on location options and the District Plan encourages businesses to consider the CBD but ultimately, they decide on their preferred location - within the parameters of the relevant legislation and the District Plan."

The Rotorua Daily Post asked Kmart if it considered the central city. A spokeswoman said "there were no opportunities in the CBD that met Kmart's criteria of good visibility and convenient car parking at an affordable rental".

Mr Faulkner said the spatial requirement needed by Kmart for its premises and parking were unable to be accommodated within the CBD.

"We did investigate an option which essentially required acquiring a whole city block, and even then it was marginal on size, but the costs associated with purchasing the multiple sites involved just made it uneconomic," Mr Faulkner said.

The number of empty shops in the CBD are at a six-year low.

The TelferYoung 2016 Rotorua Central Business District vacancy survey, which was carried out in December, showed a decrease in both the number of vacant retail shops and the amount of vacant retail space.

Who is at/coming to Trade Central
- Mitre 10 Mega (existing)
- Hunting & Fishing (existing)
- Kmart
- Bed Bath & Beyond (moving from Rotorua Central with a new tenant at that site yet to be named)
- Pita Pit
- St Pierres Sushi
- Three others at "agreement to lease" stage but trading names not confirmed
- Two others at commercial terms stage (serious discussion but yet to formalise an agreement to lease)