Mon, Jan 22, 2024 9:28 AM

Council seeks new tenant for Noel Leeming building in Blenheim


Maia Hart

The Marlborough District Council is searching for a new tenant for the Noel Leeming building in Blenheim.

A spokesperson for the Marlborough District Council said this week the lease on the property on the corner of Charles and Queen St in central Blenheim expires in October this year.

“Noel Leeming have not indicated a desire to extend the lease, so council will be seeking a new tenant to replace them,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson from the Warehouse Group, the parent company of Noel Leeming, declined to clarify what that meant for their presence in Blenheim.

Local Democracy Reporting asked if the company might yet renew the lease, move to a new location in Blenheim, or leave Blenheim all together.

Their response was: “We don’t have an update on this. Worth checking back in closer to the time.”

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce chief executive Pete Coldwell. Photo: Supplied/Stuff

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce chief executive Pete Coldwell, says if Noel Leeming was to move out of town, it would be a shame.

“Accepting the fact that we do not know what’s going to happen, whenever any key retailer moves from a town, or within a town, questions are always asked and people always worry.

“I could honestly say that I would rather Noel Leeming remained in town, but when any business moves on from a premises, I firmly believe that nature abhors a vacuum and somebody will come in and fill it.”

The Noel Leeming site, which is shared with other businesses, such as the Marlborough Health Hub and Civic Family Health Care, has a long history in the region.

PHOTO 3: Noel Leeming has been at the site since mid-2003. Photo: Supplied/Stuff

Noel Leeming had been on the site since mid-2003, but property records showed prior to this it had stints as a Farmers retail store, which opened in the 1980s, and later a Supervalue supermarket.

It also neighboured the former civic theatre.

In 2007, the Marlborough Civic Theatre Trust was concerned Noel Leeming could move out to Westwood Business Park, which was then just a proposed development.

There was no indication at the time that Noel Leeming would relocate, nor was there any indication now that it would move to the now-developed business park.

Meanwhile, Local Democracy Reporting understands the new Harvey Norman store at Westwood is due to open in May.

Harvey Norman was granted consent for a $10m development at Westwood Business Park in late 2022. Supplied: MDC SMART MAPS

Harvey Norman had been at its Maxwell Rd site since it was bought and converted in 2004, but in late 2022 a resource consent was issued by the Marlborough District Council for a new $10m development at Westwood.

Its Maxwell Rd site was up for lease.

Harvey Norman will join several big retailers at Westwood, which started with Bunnings in 2012 and Pak ‘n Save in 2013. Kmart opened in 2019, and Chemist Warehouse in 2021.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ on Air.

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