Supermarket operator Foodstuffs is selling its Christchurch grocery distribution centre - one of the South Island's largest commercial buildings - as it plans a move to an even bigger facility.
The company's existing main South Island dry goods warehouse is in Papanui, but Foodstuffs says it is now too small and it is extending on an existing Hornby site.
The $45 million Hornby distribution centre is being developed for the company by Calder Stewart Industries, and will be almost twice the size of the Papanui site.
Foodstuffs bought an extra 1.3 hectares for the new centre, and the new 2.5ha building will sit alongside a smaller warehouse and coolstore between Main South and Shands roads.
Foodstuffs owns the Pak 'n Save and New World supermarkets, as well as the Four Square and On the Spot grocery stores, produce retailer Raeward Fresh, and liquor retailer Henry's Beer Wine and Spirits.
The Papanui property includes 1.7ha of buildings on a 5.6ha site.
The warehouse is on a 3.2ha site which will be subdivided and sold, but the company will keep some of its South Island head office on the site, as well as the offices of its Trents Wholesale and Murdoch Manufacturing subsidiaries.
Steve Anderson, chief executive of Foodstuffs South Island, said the site had become too small to accommodate future growth, and access for heavy vehicles had become difficult.
He described the Hornby building project as a significant investment, and expected it to cater for 25 years' growth. It will have more efficient lighting, 11 metre-high racking systems and bigger yard areas. It will cover 4.6ha, hold 45,000 pallets and be completed next year.
The company also has a distribution centre in Dunedin, which it will retain.
The Papanui warehouse was the second-biggest in the country when it was built in the early 1970s for the Four Square grocery group. It has been extended three times since, most recently in 1999.
It has a 2007 rating valuation of $19.4m, of which $13.9m is for buildings.
Bayleys agent Stewart White said Foodstuffs would continue to lease the complex until the end of next year, with short-term renewals after that, while it planned its shift. It wants offers for the property by early November.
White said the sheer size and scale of the warehouse meant a buyer would probably subdivide it into smaller units, or redevelop it into a mix of community buildings suitable for indoor sports or social activities.
- © Fairfax NZ News