Complex still possible
It was the opportunity of a lifetime for Putaruru, so what happened to the Buttermilk Complex? Petrice Tarrant reports.
It was a promising story for Putaruru in 2011 – transforming the old Putaruru Carter Holt Harvey site into an agri park, creating 40-plus jobs in the process.
A 5-hectare agri park was proposed to dominate the ‘‘ five- year development’’, covering all aspects of farm life from rural machinery and supplies through to tertiary- level education, including a long- overdue New Zealand Farming Hall of Fame and a history of agriculture shed.
So what ever happened to the exciting Buttermilk Complex proposal?
South Waikato News contacted director Dave Macfarlane, one of a Tauranga trio that purchased the 14.5ha Princes St property.
He said it was not a failed development, ‘‘it just hasn’t happened yet’’.
Sam Wulff, Paul Washer and Dave Macfarlane expected construction of the complex to start in April 2012.
At the time, Wulff said that the worsening economic outlook was not a deterrent for the developers.
But Macfarlane said they just could not get people ‘‘across the line’’ when it came to leases.
It was labelled a five-year development in 2011 and Macfarlane said that number still stands today.
‘‘That idea is still there, we have some tenants on site on the property but just the big plan hasn’t eventuated at this stage.’’
But he is a hopeful person.
‘‘In the property game it’s just a timing thing. Things happen, sometimes it just takes a while. This was pretty forward thinking and we still think it’s the best site in the Waikato for it, if not the universe.’’
He said there were better signs in the economy than what was there before.
‘‘We believe it can still happen in the future, it’s just getting bums off seats really, getting people to commit to being there ... it’s just getting the ball rolling.’’
What the project needed was for people to occupy that site, he said.
‘‘There were 200 people who had jobs on that site when Carters, in all their wisdom shut it down, and our goal is to have 200 people back working on that site.’’
Plans delayed: This is how the Tauranga business partners envisaged the Buttermilk Complex would look.