Developer plans $20m retail project for Tawa

Auckland developers Rock Solid Holdings are planning a major new big box retail development on land beside the new Tawa Countdown supermarket.

They want the development approved by council planners without going through the full resource consent hearing process on the basis that it will only have a slight impact on the Tawa town centre and other local retail areas.

The company, which trades as Euroclass, has applied to Wellington City Council for consent to build 8473 square metres of shops and offices on 2.6 hectares of land at Takapu Island, the large plateau next to the motorway turnoff to Tawa.

Rock Solid manager Richard Murray said that, assuming hearings were not required, work could start on the $20 million development later this year and be completed by the middle of 2015.

The proposal is to build up to 7000sqm of shop space, 1066sqm of mezzanine office accommodation in four retail buildings, a 274sqm fast food outlet and a 133sqm cafe around parking for 243 cars.

The development was designed to be integrated with the supermarket.

Murray said that apart from the two food outlets, the stores will all be a minimum of 450sqm each.

The development is a non- complying activity under the district plan. But Rock Solid says its size and scale is anticipated by plan change 73 and if that became operative the development could be handled as a discretionary activity as environmental affects were less than minor.

It argued the development would be an efficient use of the land, provide jobs in the Tawa area, improve the site visually and complement the supermarket.

It would also not have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and vibrancy of local town centres.

A retail impact assessment prepared for Rock Solid by Market Economics estimated the 11 large stores in the development would turn over $20.5m to $25.2m a year.

The development's biggest direct impact was likely to be in the Tawa Oxford St precinct, Jamaica Dr and Ngauranga centres, which could lose 13-14 per cent of trade.

The low level of direct impacts were due to the relatively small degree of overlap between the range of products offered in existing centres and the ranges assumed for the proposed new development.

"Impacts on the Tawa town centre are expected to be 3 per cent if Takapu Island develops with an apparel focus, or less than 1.5 per cent under all other scenarios."

Impacts on Johnsonville and Porirua will be less than 4 per cent because of the broad range of retail offering available in those centres and their large size relative to Takapu Island.

Indirect impacts are expected to be less than 7 to 10 per cent for the Tawa Dress-Smart precinct, Jamaica Dr and Ngauranga centre, 4-6 per cent on Tawa's Oxford St precinct and less than 3 per cent for all other centres.

The consultants say these impacts are lower than those considered significant in Environment Court cases.

City planners are still deciding whether or not the Takapu Island development is a notified activity and can be contested by objectors in a public hearing process.

Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the application was "on 'suspend' while we seek further information - so there won't be a notify/non-notify decision in the short term."

The Dominion Post