As demolition preparation work begins on the long-empty supermarket building in Kopeopeo, Kāinga Ora has announced that plans for the site have changed drastically.
In 2020, Tauranga-based development company Quintex Properties had plans drawn up and resource consent given for 42 three-bedroom residential units to be built on the 0.6 hectare site on the corner of King and Stewart streets.
The site was then owned by Alan Unsworth and the apartments were marketed as 42 on King, however, Quintex Properties pulled out of the project last year due to rising building costs making it unviable.
Unsworth sold the site to New Zealand housing agency, Kāinga Ora in November last year.
At the time, the agency’s Bay of Plenty regional director Darren Toy said Kāinga Ora would review the existing plans for the site to assess other potential options.
He told the Beacon in a written statement this week that it's considering a complex with up to 60 apartments and commercial spaces.
“We’re exploring a mix of around 50 to 60 apartments and houses, with the potential for offices or commercial space on the ground floor of the proposed apartment building,” says Toy.
“Once we have initial design plans, we will share these in the coming months with neighbours and the wider community for feedback, ahead of lodging resource consent with Whakatāne District Council.”
Meanwhile, contractors from Central Demolition are on site at the old supermarket building carrying out preparation work before demolition can begin.
A blessing of the site by Ngāti Awa was held earlier this week, ahead of fencing installation around the building.
The preparation work is expected to take around four months. As an accredited asbestos removal company Central Demolition will also be removing low-risk asbestos, which is usual for buildings of this age.
“Subject to consents, we expect work to start on site early next year, and are working to completion in 2025,” says Toy.
He says the agency also had plans to redevelop three other sites it owned in Whakatāne to provide 10 new warm, dry homes and are currently seeking feedback from the communities on these.
Two new houses, one with four bedrooms and one five bedrooms are planned for 21 Tuhoe Avenue. Three new houses, two with two bedrooms and one with four bedrooms are planned for 142-144 King Street and the existing duplex on the site are being relocated to the rear of the section.
Five new houses, three with one or two bedrooms and two with four bedrooms are being planned at 37-39 Domain Road.
-Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.