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Agent cautious on rebuild impacts

Philip Hunt, Ray White managing director and principal for Tauranga, said he was an optimist when it came to Tauranga’s CBD redevelopment, but was concerned about the shorter-term impact of turning the city in to a construction zone.

“The CBD is very dear to my heart, having been Tauranga’s inaugural Mainstreet manager for six years when the Edgewater development started,”
said Hunt.

“At the moment I am concerned about how construction seems to be limited to daylight periods. Earlier projects on Devonport road used to work through the night to get the jobs done, but at present we have major issues with access and parking during the day.”

Hunt said he appreciated the delays and shortages of parking might only be short term, but worried that was causing people to abandon the CBD over this period, and making life tough
for retailers.

“You have to question whether more work could be done out of hours, and on weekends to get it done.”

He was concerned the two to three years of inconvenience might be too long for some retailers to hold out for a better CBD.

“What I can see is a bit of flight from first floor spaces to the fringe due to problems of access for customers and staff. But they will come back, and we will have a good commercial
centre there.”

Hunt’s advice to landlords was to do all they could to retain their tenants, and take into account they were they were facing difficult circumstances due to the construction’s impact on access, parking and road closures.

“I am very excited about what the CBD will become, but fear we will see some businesses flounder or move in the process, as they may not be able to sustain themselves for the time required.”

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