Park attracts hi-tech anchor tenant

ON TRACK: Hawke's Bay Airport Business Park business development manager Wayne Wootton.
ON TRACK: Hawke's Bay Airport Business Park business development manager Wayne Wootton.

A global technology company has been announced as the anchor tenant at the Hawke's Bay Airport Business Park, raising hopes that other big names will be attracted to the development.

The company will set up a research centre at the multimillion-dollar business park development, and will be a big boost for the Hawke's Bay economy, the park's developers say.

Automation technology giant ABB, which bought Napier-based power electronics company Vectek Electronics four years ago, employs about 130 staff in Hawke's Bay.

Within the next 18 months to two years, about 20 to 25 more staff were expected to be added, Airport Business Park business development manager Wayne Wootton said.

ABB plans to build a 6500-square- metre research and development centre and assembly unit to develop and manufacture power protection and power conversion products, which would be sold globally.

It is expected to be completed by early next year.

Mr Wootton said the business park was looking to lure research and development businesses to create a hi-tech science park, rather than heavy industry.

Other businesses, including IT companies, were looking to move into the park, and having ABB on board would help secure tenants with local, national and international interests, he said.

"They have a global presence so we're hoping they will actually be a catalyst [to bring companies] into the business park."

He believed there was demand for a technology-focused business park, particularly with close access to the airport, state highway and the harbour.

The 20-hectare business park has the capacity for about 80,000 to 100,000 square metres of floor space that could accommodate more than 1000 people.

The business park is being developed to attract a variety of tenants ranging from research and development, education, hi-tech industry and tourism to air-related business such as flight training, aircraft maintenance, freight facilities and other airline carriers.

In the first stage of the park's development, the airport would invest more than $4 million in infrastructure expansion, including roading, stormwater management, landscaping, a dedicated power supply and ultrafast fibre broadband.

Airport chairman John Palairet said ABB's inclusion in the park made it an ideal location for commercial and industrial business.

Commerce Minister Craig Foss said the investment in the business park by Hawke's Bay Airport placed the region firmly on the map as a major area in the country for business development.

"The development shows great confidence in Hawke's Bay for growing the economy, exports and jobs," Mr Foss said.

Contact Sophie Speer
Culture and Capital Day reporter
Twitter: @sophie_speer

The Dominion Post