Work on a large new Countdown supermarket in Petone is set to start next week.
Tony Gapes of development company Redwood Group said builders would be going on to the former Petone West School site on Monday and he expected the $23 million project to be completed within 12 months. The development, which received resource consent from Hutt City Council last year, is on a hectare block fronting on to Jackson St and Hutt Rd. It is almost directly across the road from the Petone Pak 'n Save supermarket operated by the rival Foodstuffs chain.
The council approved a 4550 square metre "retail box". Most of this would be for the supermarket and 500sqm was for other retailing.
Gapes said a dispute over whether that would have to be one large shop or be split into five smaller shops, which was opposed by the Petone Action Group, was set to go the Environment Court in September.
The plan provides for 180 on- site car parks and to ease congestion the developer will pay 65 per cent of the cost of installing traffic lights to replace the roundabout at the end of Jackson St, opposite the Petone Railway Station.
The developer told the council it would keep some of the pohutukawa trees along the Jackson St frontage.
Petone West School was closed in 1979 and the government's sale of the site was held up by protracted legal action by descendants of Te Ati Awa leader Te Puni who owned the land before it was taken under the Public Works Act.
They were finally given the option to buy it back in 2010, bought it for $5 million and sold it a month later to companies involved in the supermarket development for $7.26m. Whanau spokesman John Warren said they had to sell as they were not able to fund the purchase themselves.
- The Dominion Post
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