Whakatāne District Council has secured property in the town centre which could prove the key to an important future development.

The Council yesterday purchased the leaseholder’s interest in the buildings at 60 The Strand and 33 Quay Street. The purchase was funded through the Harbour Fund.

The council already owns the land under the buildings, as well as neighbouring properties at 62 The Strand, 58 The Strand and 31 and 35 Quay Street.

When combined, these properties offer a space on the prominent corner of Quay Street and The Strand which could suit a significant future development.

The council’s General Manager Strategy and Transformation, Steven Perdia, said the properties’ great riverside location between Whakatāne’s retail area and apartment complexes lent itself to a range of development options.

“This corner has been identified as a key development site for at least the past decade,” he said.

“The buildings on these two properties are in a poor state of repair, and we look forward to this land being used for a more productive purpose which adds value to our town and district.”

Although no immediate plans exist for such a development, the council is undertaking feasibility work to determine the site’s best potential use. This will tie in with work which will shortly begin to update the Town Vision which was developed in 2008.

There have been number of contextual changes since 2008, and we need to ensure that this continues to reflect the community’s aspirations for our town centre. Council will be engaging with the community to ensure that their views are captured as part of this process.