Green light for $15.5M old supermarket site redevelopment

26 Aug 2019, 3:47 PM

A $15.5 million redevelopment of a high-profile former Whangarei supermarket site will be underway August 2019 after the Northland Regional Council formally gave its blessing to the project.

Council Chief Executive Malcolm Nicolson says, Whangarei-based Arco Group has now been awarded the main contract for the redevelopment which will breathe new life into the area.

Mr Nicolson says the NRC has been working on the project with development partner, Argyle Estates Ltd, since September 2018 and earlier this year called for Formal Registrations of Interest from suitably qualified contractors for the head construction contractor role.

Under the newly-approved plan, the bulk of the property will be retained in full council ownership as a tenanted investment, with returns used to subsidise rates and council activities. The value of the land involved – approx $4M – is included the total $15.5M redevelopment cost.

The planned redevelopment involves a significant refurbishment of the existing former supermarket building which will be split into about a dozen tenancies.

A medical precinct will take up the western side, while a gym and other convenience retail and hospitality businesses will occupy the eastern side facing Kamo Rd.

Mr Nicolson says the other part of the development will see a new building constructed on the northern part of the site, which will house a child care centre expected to cater for up to 75 children.

While the council had originally intended to retain the title, it had agreed to sell the 1700 square metre portion to a family trust associated with the charitable child care centre operator, Best Start. The sale – for an undisclosed sum – means the operator will own and operate the building and the land it sits on outright.

“This sale will help pay for some of the redevelopment costs associated with the refurbishment of the existing (ex-supermarket) property. The refurbishment is designed to ensure a good commercial return on a prime site that has been vacant for several years.”

Mr Nicolson says current and previous councillors had contemplated assorted options for the site over the years and believed the redevelopment approach they had now formalised would restore some much-needed energy to the area and its local community.

The council had heard from a number of people that they would value commercial and retail activity at the site and he believed the wider community would welcome the newly-confirmed plans. Having obtained approval of the required resource and building consents, the project is planned to be completed in two stages, with the first aiming to be open midway through 2020.

Argyle’s Development Manager, Gerome Powell, says the company is delighted to be able to work with the regional council to deliver such an exciting project.

Mr Powell says the redevelopment will include some of New Zealand’s best-known retail brands (almost all of which will be new to Whangarei), as well as some established local businesses.

“The strategic location of the site, and quality of the development has attracted significant brands such as BurgerFuel, Sal’s Pizza and St Pierre’s Sushi.” “Our goal when we started work was to deliver the premier retail centre in Whangarei and we believe we are on track to achieving this.”

An impression of the proposed Kensington redevelopment.

An impression of the proposed Kensington redevelopment.