In the context of a global pandemic recovery, investors are reconsidering all capital decisions. Now, more than ever, regional centres are being looked at for commercial property opportunities. And Hastings, is no exception.
Rob Gill, Director and Owner of Hastings Hive, Hastings’ first large scale co-working space, and the larger site that encompasses the Kiwibank National Operations Centre, sought out Hastings to invest due to its good business fundamentals.
“Hastings has excellent infrastructure and acts as the region’s service hub, thus attracting new business, business investment and workers,” Rob says.
The current low interest rate environment supports the case for portfolio diversification, and drives demand for regional centres of New Zealand.
Rob, and wife Jenny, own a small private company with commercial buildings and shared office spaces spread throughout the North Island.
Rob placed a strategic bet on Hastings growing faster and more steadily than most other centres in NZ, saying “the fundamentals of the Hawke’s Bay economy look good, demand should hold up well and growth will continue steadily as more companies move their business and families to the Bay for access to stable staff and better quality of life, that New Zealanders so value.”
The important part for the Gill’s, which rings true for any investment opportunity, is “to be focused on being part of the Hastings and Hawke’s Bay success story, and to put local business first.”
“Developing what the local market will need in the next ten years, is likely a better bet than trying to guess whether a building will make money…and if you want to understand this, just ask the locals.”
Passionate owners and operators breathe life into Hastings
There’s a growing band of locals working to inject new vitality and economic diversity into the CBD. A key player, Rob Hansen – Principal, Hansen Property Group is currently redeveloping the old Hawke’s Bay Today site, now called Tribune, situated east of Heretaunga Street.
The project is a mixed-use precinct of office, retail and hospitality set in an urban garden, for locals and visitors to work, connect, socialise and be entertained.
The fundamentals of Hawke’s Bay “positions it well over this time, and Hastings is currently an affordable place to invest,” Rob says.
In light of COVID-19, and the impact to commercial property, well-known investment adviser and author Martin Hawes says “I think this will be a time when yet again quality comes through…quality of the location and especially quality of the tenant.”
Bay Plaza Investment Director Hugh Lambie, credits the combination of experience and the backing of national tenants for the success of the $4 million redevelopment of Bay Plaza Shopping Centre.
“It (the redevelopment) was a good long-term investment where we’re still continuing to see growth.
“Landlords will be taking a closer look at the quality of tenants and the people behind the businesses. It’s all about the ability of the tenant to be able to pay the rent.”
Bay Plaza was an existing run-down shopping centre, purchased in 2012, with short leases and no capital investment for over a decade. It desperately needed significant capital investment, and experienced developers with strong contacts to bring tenants to Hawke’s Bay.
The growth story of this region enticed ten new national tenants to Bay Plaza, with some of these tenants going on to open additional stores locally.
Bay Plaza owners are currently looking at this region for further investment due to the strong economic fundamentals.
Recovering and thriving
Hastings Business Association General Manager Anita Alder says while so much is still unknown in the wake of COVID-19, what is known is the general desire amongst the kiwi population to support local.
Many Hastings businesses will rely on this sense of community and investment to get them through these lean times and back on their feet.
Ongoing investment in Hastings, including domestic tourism will be an opportunity for Hastings in coming months – a perfect getaway weekend location.
“There is of course opportunity even within a crisis. It allows us the time to reflect, to rediscover what it is most important to us – including giving back, sharing and investing in our community.
“It’s these values that the Heart of Hawke’s Bay needs as we all recover and begin to thrive together,” she says.