Rotorua's inner city landscape is changing as several new developments take shape - and one longstanding Rotorua building comes down.

Work is progressing on transforming the former Freedom Furniture building into an office block while in Whakaue St the new Lakesyde development is also well underway.

While plenty of work appears to be happening around the city, it's the residential building sector that has seen the best performance according to the latest building consent figures.

In the three months from May to July $13 million of the $22.5 million worth of consents issued by the Rotorua Lakes Council were for residential projects.


During the same period the number of residential consents dropped slightly, from 337 to 334 but the value rose 30 per cent from $10 million to $13 million.

In July alone, $5.4 million worth of consents were issued by the council, down from $11 million the previous year.

The number of consents was also down slightly, from 123 in July 2015 to 112 this July.

Last month there were 18 commercial building consents issued worth a total value of $2.5 million.

The only consent over $500,000 was issued to Manaaki Ora Trust for the internal fit out of a new hostel, which came in at $900,000.

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Darrin Walsh said he didn't think the drop in consents was anything to be concerned about.

He said while the July figures showed drops, it was often difficult to compare single months.

"I don't see it as a biggie. I think it is just a little blip for July."

Read more:
Rotorua house values jump 24 per cent

Mr Walsh said the nature of commercial consents meant all it took was a couple of "chunky consents" to tip the balance.

He said those in the industry were positive.

"I'm having builders telling me they're snowed under. I'm hearing talk there are lots of plans and investment about to happen."

Duncan Gifford from Gifford Builders said he was definitely busy.

"For us it is a mix of new stuff and renovations."

The former Freedom Furniture building is being turned into offices. Photo/Stephen Parker
The former Freedom Furniture building is being turned into offices. Photo/Stephen Parker

He said they didn't have any capacity to take on new work at the moment and were pricing work for the new year.

Developer Tony Bradley - who is involved in the office development on the corner of Arawa and Fenton St and the Lakesyde development - said work was progressing well on both projects.

The office at the old Freedom site was expected to be finished at the end of the month with the new tenants, Tompkins Wake and Opus, expected to move in early September.

Mr Bradley said the Lakesyde development was expected to be finished early November with the first tenants moving in from October.

He said it was about three quarters tenanted with a couple of spaces still available.

About 30 contractors were working on each site getting the projects finished.

Mr Bradley said he hadn't yet thought of what project would be next for him.

"I've got a pretty hectic next three months."

Meanwhile, work on demolishing Community House is well underway.

The building, constructed 50 years ago, was bought by the council in 1993 to provide
affordable accommodation for local volunteer and community organisations.

However a potential $2.4 million bill for earthquake strengthening prompted the decision to instead demolish the building - which is expected to be done by the end of next month.

Council chief operating officer Dave Foster said contractors had finished moving all soft furnishings from the building.

"The items that were in good condition have been rehomed. Curtains have been donated to the Curtain Bank and carpet has gone to Apumoana Marae."

Weather permitting, the contractors were expected to spend the next two weeks finishing the strip out of the building including removing windows and remaining wall coverings so only the concrete structure is left.

"Once they have finished that stage, a large digger with a 'nibbler' attached will start crushing the concrete structure from top down. They will start at the northern end (Arawa St) of the building. "

RDT Pacific Limited, who are managing the site, expected to have the entire removal finished and the site cleared by the end of September.