Businesses choose Portlink site near tunnel

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2013
David Mortimer and Tom Thomson
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ

MUTUAL BENEFITS: David Mortimer, chief executive of Arcus Developments, left, and Tom Thomson, managing director of Elastomer Products, at the new Portlink site in Kennaway Rd.

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Tom Thomson, part-owner of quake-hit eastern suburbs manufacturer Elastomer Products, is looking forward to celebrating two important landmarks when his relocated business opens in Portlink Industrial Park.

If Elastomer reopens in Christchurch on schedule on February 26 next year, a few days after the third anniversary of the big quake, it will be Thomson's 60th birthday and the business will be 40 years old.

Elastomer is among three Christchurch companies that have committed to establishing bases at the privately owned Portlink, joining existing tenants such as Kathmandu at the 30-hectare development beside Tunnel Rd near Heathcote.

The other two companies moving to the industrial park are freight and container-handling company NZ Express Transport and Cla-Val Pacific, a manufacturer of automatic control valves.

Portlink is managed by Arcus Developments and its chief executive is David Mortimer.

Arcus is owned by Arrow International, which owns 90 per cent of the Portlink development, with the other 10 per cent owned by Mortimer personally.

Thomson said Elastomer was still working from its compromised site in Bromley, where it makes innovative plastics and rubber products, including silicone rubber seals for ovens.

"It's really just in a holding pattern, and has been for two years, while we sort out where we can go," he said of the existing Maces Rd site.

Keeping hold of his staff, with many of them living in the eastern suburbs, was behind his decision to move to Portlink, despite the site being within a few kilometres of the epicentre of the February 22, 2011 earthquake.

The land and new development at the site would cost a total of $11 million, but the 6300-square-metre building was covered by insurance, he said.

The closeness to the quake centre meant Elastomer had spent a lot of time on geotech reports and the formulation of a building with a relatively lightweight construction, Thomson said.

"We've got some good assurances that we're definitely moving onward and upward, not backwards . . . keeping our staff is paramount to us because some of those people have worked for me for over 30 years."

Mortimer said having three well-known companies confirm contracts within days of each other was "quite a coup", with the Elastomer build to start in the next two to three weeks.

Kennaway Rd would be extended up into the 30-hectare site bounded on the east by Tunnel Rd as eight stages at the park are developed.

Arcus was in talks with other potential tenants. It bought the site used for horse grazing in 2006 and had it rezoned for industrial use in 2009. Later Arcus parent Arrow International built a distribution centre for outdoor gear retailer Kathmandu, and the centre opened last June.

Arrow is owned by Christchurch's Bob Foster and Ron Anderson, of Mosgiel.

The closeness of Lyttelton Port helped the site attract clients such as NZ Express Transport and Cla-Val.

HIVES OF INDUSTRY

Industrial subdivisions in and around Christchurch include: Portlink Industrial Park (about 30 hectares). Dakota Park in Russley Rd (about 80 hectares), a Christchurch airport business park. Wigram Park (about 25 hectares) on former airfield land in Sockburn developed by Ngai Tahu. Glassworks Industry Park in Hornby, owned by Goodman Property Trust. Izone Business Hub (about 180 hectares), a Rolleston development owned by Selwyn District Council.

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