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Tauranga CBD’s Farmers’ complex nearing completion

Some Bay locals and visitors have been caught out by the Tauranga commissioners’ decision to go ahead with long delayed major road works in recent months. The resulting traffic confusion has focused extra attention on Farmers’ major investment in the CBD with its $200 million investment in its new headquarters in the city.

At peak times more than 500 contractors have been involved in the build, injecting significant economic benefit into the local community. Once the building is complete, it will effectively double the residential population in the CBD.

However, a successful end is in sight. The project – which opened the doors to its retail section in late February – includes a significant residential component, made up of 23 luxury townhouses and 97 high-end apartments across two towers.

These all brought together by a spectacular swimming, gym, green space, and recreational podium area known as the Sky Garden. They will be available for purchase in the first quarter of this year. For pre-sale information people should register their interest on the website www.elizabethtowers.co.nz.

The opening of the retail spaces at Thirty Eight Elizabeth in early February (the complex is still not fully open), which began construction in 2018, marked the start of a new chapter for the CBD. Just over 7000sqm of the 8000 sqm retail offering on the ground and level has now opened, including a state-of-the-art Farmers store, and Whitcoulls and Pascoes- also located on the ground floor entrance on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Devonport Road.

These brands are all part of the James Pascoe Group, which is also behind the development under the name of Elizabeth Properties Limited.

Gateway to new experience

50 year Farmers’ veteran, store manager Graeme Walker, at the opening. Photo/Supplied.

“This entrance on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Devonport Road is the gateway to a new fashion and beauty retail experience, one that Tauranga has been waiting for to bring revitalisation to the CBD,” said Thirty Eight Elizabeth project manager Brett Nicholls.

“The entire development provides a grand gateway to the CBD, one that celebrates the history and significance of the site for the CBD.” The Farmers store has been designed and fitted out following on from the brand’s success at Sylvia Park and 277 in Newmarket, Auckland.

“This is a step above,” said Nicholls. “We always take the shopping experience to the next level when we open a new store.”

Subway will also be open again on site, on Elizabeth Street close to the laneway that leads to First Avenue. A morning karakia (blessing) and ribbon cutting has been held on site to mark the official opening. A small group of kaumātua led by Tamati Tata, as well as a limited number of Tauranga City Council commissioners, Farmers’ managers, and building contractors gathered to celebrate.

The smallness of the event reflected the government’s new traffic light regulations.
“Ngāi Tamarāwaho, the Ngāti Ranginui iwi hapū, whose people traditionally lived in the area, hold the mana whenua for the site, which is at the heart of its rohe,” said kaumātua Buddy Mikaere.

“Ngāi Tamarāwaho has supported this project from the outset and considers that the redevelopment fits with its aspirations for the city centre.”

Nicholls said Farmers’ acknowledged Ngāi Tamarāwaho’s ancestral ties to the site and were working closely with representatives to include design features that reflect this history. The Farmers corner had a long history of retail stretching back to its roots as the Devon mall in the early 1970s, he said.

Opening by first half 2022?

While the timing of the grand opening is still being determined due to the Covid restrictions and shutdowns of last year, it is expected to take place in the first half of 2022.

“We want the fullness and potential of the entire development to be open and enjoyed as soon as possible,” said Nicholls.

“That is why we have put extra resources into the build from the start to bring it to fruition in an ambitious timeframe. We are not far behind schedule considering the number of Covid setbacks our amazing team has had to overcome.

“It is a homecoming for Farmers, which has strong historic ties to the site. We are glad to be ‘home’. “Farmers at The Crossing and Bayfair will remain host to home furnishings, manchester, and homewares. Farmers at Thirty Eight Elizabeth will showcase the best of fashion and beauty.”

“It’s an exciting idea that has caught on in shopping areas overseas,” Nicholls said. “People are looking for a whole new experience when they go out. They’re enjoying a quality meal at their shopping destination, rather than eating and shopping separately.”

Related: Farmers reports on new building’s progress

David Porter
David Porter
Editor, Bay of Plenty Business News. Email: editor@bopbusinessnews.co.nz

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