Developers invest in Paeroa vision
It might be world famous in New Zealand for its giant bottle, but developers Tim Bartells and Jenny Wilson saw a lot more than that when they decided to invest in the town of Paeroa.
Their vision to build a proposed 250-unit lifestyle village overlooking the hills behind the town has recently become a reality with the blessing of their Waimarei Avenue site last month, and the arrival of diggers and trucks to begin work soon after.
Dairy-farmer turned property developer Tim says Paeroa caught his eye as a place with potential a long time ago because of its location.
“We had an independent marketing report done on the concept and it was extremely postitive because you’re drawing from South Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, as well as the local market,” he says.
After finding the perfect patch on Waimarei Avenue, he spent the next little while working through business plans, designs and consent processes. More recently, entrepreneur Jenny became a business partner in the proposal, bringing a whole new set of skills and ideas.
Her background, based around community, people and sustainability, perfectly complemented Tim’s expertise in building and construction.
“We see this as so much more than business, bricks and mortar,” says Jenny.
“Our dream is to create a beautiful resort-style village that people love to live in and that is integrated with the wider community.
“Older people have so many diverse skills and life experiences to share and there are all kinds of possibilities for our residents to be involved in the community in a volunteer capacity, for instance teaching modules at the school, or helping out with existing programmes. We want to encourage and assist broad community involvement in the village,” says Jenny.
Tim moved from Auckland to Paeroa earlier this year, while Jenny traded her Hamilton lifestyle for the peace if Paeroa more recently.
Both business partners are now happily adjusting to a ‘whole different way of living’.
“People are extremely helpful and friendly, and so relaxed. It used to take me at least an hour in traffic to get anywhere. Now I’m starting to get annoyed if I have to wait for two or three cars at an intersection,” says Tim.
When finished, the proposed Longridge Country Estate, which takes its name from the ranges it overlooks, will have 250 units as well as a 60-bed aged care facility with rest home, hospital and dementia care.
It will also include a comprehensive luxury recreation and community centre, with a restaurant, café, bowling green, croquet, library, picture theatre, full sized snooker table, doctors’ rooms, hairdressing salon and computer room.
Overall, it’s expected to take about five years before the key is turned on the front door of the very last unit, increasing the Paeroa population by about 400 people.
Paeroa ward chair Paul Milner says the project and uplift in population will provide many benefits to the town.
“We’re very excited that Tim and Jenny have chosen to invest in Paeroa. This project will bring many opportunities, not only from an economic point of view, but also to cater for the needs of local residents and their families close to home,” says Paul.
Hauraki District Council economic development manager David Fielden says the council works hard to roll out the red carpet not the red tape, and really look after its business customers.
“It took a long time to get to this point, but an investment of this magnitude does take time. We really believed in this project as being something worthwhile for the district that will bring huge benefits including jobs, work for local contractors and trade,” says David.
“It’s fantastic to see investor confidence in the district is high and this will likely attract further investment.”
Tim agrees good communication with the council can make or break a project.
“Overall the council was extremely helpful and when there was a problem, they worked really hard to help us sort it out.
“If this is missing it really can stymie a project like this, where even small holdups can potentially cost us thousands of dollars every day,” says Tim.