The redevelopment of Tauranga’s iconic Farmers’ corner has begun, with local workers starting the demolition of two buildings on the site.
Around 20 workers sub-contracted to Hawkins will spend the next four weeks removing the structures at 56 and 58 Elizabeth Street, the former Subway restaurant and the building behind.
Elizabeth Properties Limited – part of the James Pascoe Group that owns Farmers – will spend more than $130 million on the flagship project, which is expected to help revitalise Tauranga’s CBD.
The company’s property project manager, Brett Nicholls, said it was exciting to start work on the site, after much consultation, planning and preparation.
“The initial demolition and excavation works will no doubt bring their own challenges,” he said. “But the plans for the building are looking fantastic and we can’t wait to start transforming them into reality.”
“This unique offering will create a southern gateway to the CBD, combining retail premises with cafes, restaurants, apartments and townhouses in a way that is yet to be seen anywhere else in New Zealand.”
Farmers will continue to trade at the CBD site until the end of this month, when it is due to move to Tauranga Crossing to allow the main building to be demolished.
When Farmers returns to the CBD it will be joined by several new retailers, cafes and restaurants.
The local branch of project management firm RCP, with input from expert consultants, has developed a construction management plan that aims to minimise disruption to the public and neighbouring businesses as much as possible.
The number of car parks available for public use at the site will triple when the new buildings opens. However, RCP advises that the site will have to be hoarded off and car parking reduced during the demolition and construction phases for access and safety reasons.
RCP senior project manager Kelvin Eden said that safety and communication are the top priorities.
“As is the case with all construction projects, we appreciate that from time to time people will experience some inconvenience,” he said.
“We are committed to minimising disruption and keeping the neighbours and the public informed as best we can.”
The building is being constructed under an accelerated timeframe to minimise disruption and to provide certainty to Farmers’ customers, staff and the public.
Some 400 workers are expected to be involved when construction is at its peak. Elizabeth Properties has committed to using local industry, resources and talent where possible.
Subway has moved to Willow Street, where it opened a new restaurant on June 28.