The National Business Review


Whangarei playing field attracts retailer interest and hefty price tag

Jazial Crossley | Friday June 12 2009 - 02:55pm

BWH Properties has offered local authorities twice the market value on a Whangarei sports ground at Okara with plans to transform the land in to a retail hotspot.

Thanks to reported pre-tenant agreements guaranteeing major retailers will move in when a retail complex is built, BWH Properties is offering the Whangarei District Council $20 million for the 5.8ha section.

The land is currently the home of playing fields and the Old Boys Rugby Football Club clubrooms.

The proposal BWH Properties has put forward involves redeveloping the property in to a commercial site with “big box retailing”.

Mayor Stan Semenoff said it would be a significant cash injection for Council’s budgets at a time when there are multiple competing demands for funding.

“This proposal gives us a degree of control over the location of our larger retail outlets and allows us to progress plans for the CBD and Town Basin, where the emphasis will be on boutique retail, tourism, apartments and hotels,” said Mr Semenoff.

“Best of all for our shoppers, it would bring shopping in Whangarei up to Auckland’s standards as major retailers not seen here before are understood to be involved.”

BWH Properties is a subsidiary of Hill Construction, both of which are owned by Bernard Wayne Hill. Mr Hill was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

The sale of the land is currently up for public consultation.