The Ocean Lodge site on Beach Rd in Tahunanui will become a complex with apartments and shops if consent is granted by Nelson City Council. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Five-storey complex for Tahuna

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Tahunanui’s proposed Ocean Lodge development, to boost Nelson’s beachside suburb with a retail centre, restaurants and both residential and holiday apartments, could be approved within a few months.

But the proposal is a shift from the larger scale supermarket complex that had earlier been discussed.

Wakatu Incorporation has owned the site bordering Nelson’s Beach Rd and Muritai St for 20 years, with an intention to develop it for the last ten.

They are now seeking approval to increase the number of storeys of the 39-unit apartment block from four to five, which also includes a ground-level car park.

Iain Sheves, general manager of property for Wakatu Incorporation, presented indicative designs at a Nelson City Council meeting on Thursday, and said the final height will not exceed 16m, with no increase in the gazetted maximum height, which is currently 20m.

He said that building the additional storey to the apartment block will give the project a “much better chance of going ahead” and leaving it as it is would result in marginal financial performance, design compromise or the build not proceeding.

Iain said that while the design process is ongoing, they are aiming to provide  a “local service centre” for the people of Tahunanui, which would include a restaurant and bar and a small scale supermarket, all to be serviced by 96 external car parks.

“We have been working with both supermarket providers off and on, but it will be a smaller format store,” says Iain.

“We’re having a different conversation now than we were two or three years when we were talking about a larger supermarket.”

He said the retail development could also give a new home to some of Tahunanui Drive’s businesses, who don’t benefit from the heavy traffic flow.

Wakatu will submit the resource consent for the building as a “special housing area” meaning the process for approval could be significantly quicker, not have the same notification provision and limited appeal rights. Iain says the consent will be lodged before September 1 and if consent is approved then plans would need to be finalised, followed by a tender process before work could begin.

The resource consent process for a special housing area can take between 30 and 70 days.

Based in Nelson, New Zealand, Wakatu Incorporation has 4000 shareholders who descend from the original Māori land owners of the Nelson, Tasman and Golden Bay Regions – Te Tau Ihu.

The manager of the current Ocean Lodge, Paul Max declined to comment on the development.