The level of interest in Foodeast, a centre of excellence for food, beverage and agri-tech innovation in Hawke’s Bay, is gathering pace.
The proposed site is in Elwood Rd, Hastings.
As at the end of September, four Expressions of Interest for tenanting space had been signed and another three were in the process.
These ran the gamut of occupancy options; from the leasing of permanent spaces to strong interest in regular use of specialised spaces such as the proposed demonstration kitchen and training rooms.
As expected, flexibility is proving the bonus of the facility, with users seeing real benefits to having access to fit-for-purpose spaces that are perhaps not economically viable to include on their home site.
Hastings District Council project manager Lee Neville said it was very positive that interest was forthcoming from both small and large entities; from those looking to test and expand their ranges, to companies wanting to access the technical and scientific advice and support that will be available to users through the national Food Innovation Network and ‘sister’ innovation sites across New Zealand.
There is also strong interest in the investment opportunity the facility provides, with further inquiries welcome.
Based on discussions with potential users and level of interest, the design of the building had been tweaked. That included the ‘kinking’ of the footprint to more easily enable an expansion of the facility.
Mr Neville said the management team was encouraging all potential users to be in touch so they could continue to get a real feel for industry needs. “Of course, there is no obligation at this stage as we work through the due diligence and Resource Consent phases of the project towards the final decision on proceeding, due to be made in early December.”
Subject to that decision, construction is due to start in January with the facility expected to be completed in just over 12 months.
Special feature – viewing platform
Updates to interested parties are being emailed regularly with each including a focus on a proposed special feature of the design. The most recent update looked at the viewing platform leading from the first-floor specialist spaces wing out over the processing areas. This space would be enclosed, to protect operations below, with viewing windows. It would be an ideal aspect, enabling clients and visitors to see operations without the need for health and safety or food hygiene inductions, and from which to take quality photography and video for publicity material.
For more information on the project, including contact details and to sign up for email updates, see www.foodeast.co.nz