Tauranga’s iconic Farmers’ corner will be transformed into a CBD landmark following today’s announcement that resource consent has been obtained and an accelerated timeline set for construction.
Elizabeth Properties Limited – part of the James Pascoe Group that owns Farmers – has this week finished the resource consent process for a new Farmers building, with town houses and apartments, after expressions of support from the community and businesses.
Elizabeth Properties today announced a commitment to open the new building as soon as possible in an effort to minimise Farmers’ absence from the CBD.
A spokesman for Elizabeth Properties, Brett Nicholls, expressed the company’s desire to provide certainty to its customers and employees, and to play a central part in the reinvigoration of Tauranga’s CBD.
“We are pleased to reach this important milestone,” Mr Nicholls said. “We are looking forward to getting started with the initial demolition, excavation and piling works which will no doubt bring their own challenges.”
Mr Nicholls said the new building will include a Ngāi Tamarāwaho mural along the Devonport Road frontage.
The timeline will see Farmers move temporarily to Tauranga Crossing in August, with the main works starting on site in September.
“Farmers has occupied the central-city corner since the early 1970s and our aim is to preserve the history of the site and keep Farmers in the CBD,” Mr Nicholls says. “The new building will offer a superior shopping experience, and will make a real statement as a southern gateway to the city.”
Of the new building’s 322 car parks, around 180 will be available to the public. This is more than twice the car parks that are currently available at Farmers.
The retail, food and beverage and car parking components are expected to be open by mid‑2021.
The apartments and town houses above are due for completion by 2021.
“We have had tremendous interest from people wanting to buy the apartments and town houses off the plans,” Mr Nicholls said.
“We have decided to place them on the market once they are substantially complete so that buyers can view and appreciate their high quality design and fit-out, unrivalled amenities and prime location.”
City leaders have strongly endorsed the project.
Mayor Greg Brownless said the development is the start of an “exciting future” for the CBD.
“We are delighted to see this significant step for the growth and vibrancy of our city centre.”
The chair of the City Transformation Committee, Councillor Larry Baldock, said “Farmers has come forward with a superb new building that will not only offer retail and hospitality, but will bring people to live in and enjoy our city centre.”
Brian Berry, chairperson of the 650-member Mainstreet Tauranga organisation, welcomed the company’s commitment to the CBD.
“We’re pleased to hear that the consenting process is complete,” he said. “The mix of retail, town houses, apartments and car parking will be a game-changer for the southern end of the CBD.”
Priority One business partnership manager Mark Irving also called the project a game-changer, saying it was a “quality solution” to the need for enhanced retail and residential options within the CBD.
“This is an exciting time for the development of Tauranga’s CBD,” he said. “Farmers’ commitment to expedite the redevelopment is welcomed and will spearhead a groundswell towards a more vibrant and attractive city centre.”
Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec supported the commitment to realise the project quickly.
“We’re happy to see this project moving from the drawing board to becoming a reality,” he said. “Farmers are not wasting any time to get this moving, and it’s good to see a commitment to returning to the iconic site as soon as possible.”