Sale clears way for new $5.6M inner city medical centre

27 May 2016, 2:23 PM

A $5.6 million comprehensive medical centre is to be built in Whangarei's Reyburn St on the site of a former car yard.

The Northland Regional Council says its 4350 square metre site and associated buildings (a former Mitsubishi dealership) had been recently sold for $2.6M to developer Reyburn Whangarei Limited, part of the Auckland-based Johnstone Group.

Regional council chairman Bill Shepherd says the new owner intends to develop a new urgent care centre in conjunction with White Cross, integrating a new larger White Cross Urgent Care with dental, X-ray and ultrasound, lab-test services and physio. Reyburn Whangarei also has a limited amount of additional space which it hopes will accommodate additional medical practices.

Councillor Shepherd says the regional council is keen to stimulate urban development and attract investment in central Whangarei and had been seeking a suitable developer for the property for some time.

"Its sale – at current valuation and after an approach from the developer – is a strategic and very carefully-considered one by council."

Councillor Shepherd says the Reyburn Whangarei proposal fits well within the Whangarei District Council's Hihiaua Precinct Plan, which encourages complementary mixed use activities, including residential, boutique retail, cafes, limited office, community services, entertainment and tourism.

Reyburn Whangarei spokesperson Freya Johnstone says the company is thrilled at the opportunities its newly-acquired site offers and is looking forward to delivering a new modern medical precinct for the people of Whangarei.

The company is planning a two-stage development on the site, aiming to begin construction of the first $5.6M stage – the medical centre – in August and have it finished early next year.

"We believe our proposal will further enhance and activate the wider CBD and the blossoming Riverside area, and deliver the valuable investment required to increase the appeal of living and working in Whangarei," Ms Johnstone says.

Cr Shepherd says the sale of some council leaseshold properties is in line with previously consulted proposals in its Long Term and Annual Plans and the proceeds from the Reyburn St sale will be reinvested into the council’s Property Reinvestment Fund.

“Council is collectively very keen to see the properties it owns put to the best use possible and in some cases, this is best achieved by selling those surplus properties to new owners who will invest in Northland and add value to them.”

However, Cr Shepherd says there are also a number of sites it owns in Whangarei which it is keen to retain in long-term public ownership, again for strategic reasons, on behalf of its ratepayers.