The land, plans and resource consents for the development of a major new tourism and hospitality complex in Northland have been placed on the market for sale.
The 4.21 hectare site at 1381 State Highway 10 on the southern approaches to Kerikeri currently houses a collection of commercial, light industrial and residential buildings.
Buildings on the property are currently occupied by seven different tenants on short-term leases. The tenancy schedule generates a return of $95,553 plus GST per annum.
However, Environment Court-approved development plans for the property show it has a far different future – sustaining the region’s growing tourism economy. Property owner Orange Centre Limited has detailed plans for the site - comprising a visitor centre with a focus on cultural trade activities, conference facility, restaurant, hotel, health spa or sports complex and service station.
Architects’ plans for the operation – tentatively named The Orange Centre – show multiple single-level structures alongside a two-storey 30-unit accommodation block surrounded by landscaped gardens featuring citrus plantings – some of which could be transplanted from the property’s existing orchard.
The freehold land, development plans and resource consents are being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Kerikeri, with the tender closing at 2pm on October 25. Bayleys Kerikeri salesperson Anthony Van Gessel and Bayleys Mangawhai salesperson Jan Hutcheson said the flat topography of the site and the dated nature of buildings currently dotted around the property meant it was prime for redevelopment.
“The current owners had ambitious visions for developing the site off the back of the region’s growing tourism visitor numbers. However, the owners now realise that bringing their vision to fruition requires more resources and time than they possess,” Mr Van Gessel said.
“All the hard work of undertaking business case studies, having architects’ plans drafted, and steering the convoluted consenting process through the necessary approval channels, has all been done. The opportunity now is for an entrepreneur developer with the appropriate skills to pick up The Orange Centre baton and see the project through to completion.
“The resource consents from the Environment Court to develop the site and establish retail and tourism amenities encompass all activities outlined in the architect’s plans,” Mr Van Gessel said.
“For example, the consent allows for a 120-delegate or guest conference centre to host events and functions between 7.30am and 10.30pm seven days a week. Any restaurant activity servicing the conference centre can have the ability to cater for up to 152 patrons during the same hours.
“Similarly, the cultural trade centre can open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, including a theatre complex with seating for up to 40 patrons. Any café linked to the venue can open for business between 8am to 10pm seven days a week with the ability to be supported by a full commercial kitchen. Seating capacity in the café is allowed to accommodate up to 81 patrons.
“Meanwhile, the consent allows for a service station - with vehicular access coming directly off the main road - to operate between 6am and midnight seven days a week, as well as for the provision of a 52-seater café.”
Mr Van Gessel said the Environment Court consents were valid through until 2021, with the potential to extend their authority further.
“Both the Far North District Council and the Northland Regional Council are highly supportive of any venture which grows the regions’ economy through sustainable tourism enterprises,” he said.
New Zealand Transport Agency figures show that the section of State Highway 10 directly in front the property had an average daily traffic volume of 9,415 vehicles. State Highway 10 connects Paihia with the eastern route to the Far North.
Ms Hutcheson said the property being marketed for sale was situated some two kilometres from the Bay of Islands airport, and a similar distance to Kerikeri town centre.
Earlier this year, Bay of Islands airport owner/operator Far North Holdings began a substantial modernisation works programme to upgrade the facility’s arrivals, departures and baggage handling areas to cope with the growing number of tourists using the amenity.
Passenger numbers have grown by a third since Air New Zealand started flying larger aircraft on the Auckland-Kerikeri route - with a record 98,844 people flying into or out of the airport during the 12 months of July 2016 to June 2017. Ms Hutcheson said Air New Zealand’s withdrawal from flying into Kaitaia has been cited as generating some of those additional passenger numbers, with the bigger percentage coming from increased corporate and leisure travellers.
“A close partnership between Air New Zealand and the Bay of Islands Marketing and Promotions Group - an organisation comprising local tourism and hospitality providers - is also having an effect. Any new operator of a tourism-based activity at The Orange Centre.”
Meanwhile to the east of The Orange Centre site, retirement village operator Arvida Group has announced plans to construct a $130 million operation containing 200 stand-alone villas and an adjoining 70-bed assisted living facility – forecast to create some 60 jobs when up and running. Construction of the village is expected to begin in 2021.
To cater with the growth of both resident and visitor numbers to Kerekeri, a new wastewater treatment plant is under construction. The $25.6 million utility has been designed to service an additional 750 residential dwellings in and around the township.