Farmers hunt for bigger premises

Farmers Trading Company is still looking to expand its Nelson store, after last year's failed attempt to secure land in Wakatu Square for a planned new store.

The previous city council announced last August the proposed sale of 3056 square metres of land in Wakatu Sq for a retail development by Auckland-based Windermere Holdings for a new Farmers store.

The plan unravelled after intense challenges from the public that a proper course had not been followed, and from local developer firms who felt they had not been given a fair chance to take part in the proposed development which had not been open to tender.

A month later city councillors shelved the controversial planned sale and agreed to leave the next move to the new city council.

Head of Windermere Holdings, Paul Smith, said that negotiations with the council were on hold, but Farmers was still looking for bigger premises in Nelson.

Smith was aware that Farmers was in talks with other developers in Nelson, including the current landlord who had offered solutions around existing premises in Trafalgar St.

Farmers now operates from two stores in central Nelson. Gaire Thompson, who owns the Trafalgar St building leased by Farmers, has offered Farmers a larger shop on the current site, but expansion would involve extending out on to Buxton Square car park, which raised complications over land titles.

Thompson said a meeting was planned soon between him, the council and a local developer.

Smith said Farmers was prepared for the fact the Wakatu Sq proposal might not ever happen, and that it had not ruled out Nelson Junction as an option. He said the developer, AMP Capital, had the "capacity and propensity to drop in massive incentives" to attract tenants that the average developer did not.

"It's really just status quo for us. We are still waiting but these things take a while to resolve themselves, but we're optimistic something will come out of it."

The Nelson Mail