Planned Whangarei medical and retail hub

8:43 PM Tuesday December 4, 2018 Colin Taylor

An artist’s concept of Whangarei’s planned Kensington Retail Centre. Photo / Supplied

Health related businesses, a childcare tenancy, convenience retailers and food and beverage businesses are being sought as tenants for a new retail centre in Whangarei. 

“The planned centre will be adjacent to one of the city’s busiest intersections,” says Jan Hutcheson of Bayleys Northland, who is handling the leasing of the premises with Neil Campbell and John Haselden from Bayleys’ Whangarei office

The new Kensington Retail Centre, located at 8 Kensington Avenue, on the site of a former Countdown supermarket, will comprise approximately 3360sq m of mixed-use retail and commercial premises with a separate 100-child childcare centre also proposed.

“The property is presently owned by the Northland Regional Council which wishes to see it developed into a commercial centre serving the community,” Hutcheson says. 

The project is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2020 and will be a significant suburban retail centre located at the busy intersection of Kensington Ave, Kamo Rd and Nixon St – a high profile site with massive road exposure to about 20,000 vehicles passing on average per day,” Hutcheson says. 

“A large General Practice medical facility has already been secured as an anchor tenant on the west side of the proposed building and discussions are also in progress with further medical users, hospitality and general retailers for premises on the east side of the building.

“This centre will include leading national brands as well as a mix of local businesses and will source customers from the growing local population, the wider catchment area and travelling motorists.”

Campbell says the standalone planned 1000sq m childcare centre will have a 50/50 spilt of indoor and outdoor space. 

“Well situated at the northern end of the property, the childcare centre will benefit from easy access with road entry and parking at its doorstep. It will have excellent visibility from Kamo Rd, giving it an outstanding branding profile to high volumes of traffic coming in and out of the city.” 

The Northland Regional Council has appointed Argyle Estates, a long-established property development and management company, to manage the redevelopment. Argyle is working with Bayleys as the sole agency for marketing and leasing of the premises.

Argyle Estates development manager Gerome Powell says the redesign of the property will result in most of the former supermarket premises being rebuilt, apart from its foundations, concrete floor and some structures.

“The development will also incorporate over 100 parking spaces, ensuring maximum convenience for all tenants and their customers,” says Powell.  “At this stage it is planned to have approximately 1500sq m of medical and health related tenancies including the GP practice, various other medical and health care specialists and a gymnasium.” 

The balance of the retail centre will comprise a mix of food and beverage and neighbourhood convenience retailers like grocery store and a cafe.

“The final occupancy make up will be determined by tenant demand,” Powell says. “Seeking expressions of interest from tenants well before the scheduled completion provides flexibility to configure the premises to suit an occupant’s requirements. Basically, tenancy sizes ranging from 80sq m to 800sq m can be catered for.

“The forward planning will also enable us to secure the right mix of tenants which will complement each other and provide services that will be of value to surrounding residential neighbourhoods.”

Haselden says the site benefits from its location on a major intersection with three access points into and out of the property. The surrounding area has a range of other established retail businesses including a popular takeaway outlet, Thai restaurant, liquor store and Z service station. 

The eastern end of Kensington Rd near the new centre is home to a cluster of medical services providers including a private surgical hospital as well as radiology and imaging specialists.

“One of the city’s leading after-hours pharmacies located in a neighbouring building will be an integral part of the medical hub and will be unaffected by the redevelopment. The new Kensington Retail Centre will become the central heart of the surrounding retail and medical activity,” Haselden says. 

Kensington Ave is a major road connecting Kamo Rd to the north/south motorway bypass (SH1). Kamo Rd is also a busy arterial linking the northern residential areas with Whangarei’s CBD – around 2kms away. It is a major commuter road for local residents as well as north/south travellers that pass through central Whangarei.