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$180m centre doubles in size - BOP

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  • $180m centre doubles in size - BOP

    $180m centre doubles in size

    A multi-million-dollar land deal has doubled the size of one of the Bay's biggest commercial and retail developments - and provided a new growth spurt for the ever-expanding Papamoa coastal strip.
    Papamoa Junction directors signed up for another 28 hectares of adjoining land just before Christmas, increasing the value of their development from $180 million to nearly $300 million - including a $50 million shopping centre.

    The extra land on the southern side - bought from three owners - is expected to be rezoned commercial during the middle of the year and cater for a further 80 businesses, employing more than 1000 people.

    Papamoa Junction off Parton Rd - for which construction began just over two years ago - has already created 52 commercial lots on 20ha and only four are unsold. Half a dozen light industrial companies have moved in and commercial construction will pick up this year.

    "There is a huge pent-up demand for sites," said Andrew Long, a Papamoa Junction director. "Companies in town have made a lot of money over the last four of five years but they are struggling to expand because they don't have enough land where they are at the Mount and other areas.

    "They are economically stymied and they need to release the safety valve by relocating and getting on with growing their businesses," he said. "We already have interest for 10 per cent of the new land even without trying."

    Mr Ling said he was "stoked" about the progress. "We are even working with businesses who have moved on to the site - the landscaper and steel firm are supplying us for the further developments."

    The Papamoa Junction developers are also expecting to sign up a supermarket this month, signalling the start of the Boardwalk shopping centre which will eventually feature 40 stores and professional offices.

    The first stage is likely to comprise the supermarket, nine major retailers and a bank. Building should start after Easter and be ready for next Christmas.

    The developers hope to add a six-screen boutique cinema, ten-pin bowling, laser strike, as well as specialty shops.

    Nearby is the $50 million, 160-unit Papamoa Beach Gardens retirement resort being developed by Auckland-based Vision Senior Living, and the proposed $20 million retail centre called Outlet Central, where manufacturers sell their brands direct to the public.

    Papamoa Junction will become a town centre in its own right, where people can live, work and play.

    It will be the gateway to the new Papamoa East settlement, which takes up 1100ha and will house more than 40,000 people over the next 20 to 30 years.

    Real estate agent Ron Melville, who operates in Papamoa, said there was a lot confidence there.

    People were being attracted to the area because they saw it as a breath of fresh air in greater Tauranga - away from the infrastructure and traffic dilemmas of the inner city.

    "People can live in any of the subdivisions and walk to the beach - it's just a nice easier-paced beach lifestyle," he said.

    Mr Melville suggested that once the commercial sites were filled there would hardly be a reason for people on the coastal strip to venture to downtown Tauranga.

    "Since the mid-1990s when the Royal Palm Beach Estate started and other subdivisions kicked in, we have been chugging along nicely.

    There's a hive of activity out here and as a result were are getting a lot of (residential) inquiry. With more commercial activity, this interest can only grow," said Mr Melville. "Now you've got the $30 million Centa Max being developed ... Mitre 10 there is up and running."

    The new Papamoa Junction commercial sites will be competitive. The developers will open up 80 new lots on the 28ha, ranging in price from $275-$375 per sq m.

    This compares with $360-$400 per sq m at Tauriko, $400-$450 sq m at Centa Max, and around $1000 sq m for any available land at the Mount.

    Nearly three years ago the Papamoa Junction developers sold their first commercial lot for $90 per sq - proof that nothing stays the same for a long in a fast-developing city.

    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx