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Property investors set to branch out as former sawmill plant is placed on market

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The land and buildings housing what was once one of the biggest and busiest logging sawmills in the Central North Island have been placed on the market for sale in a receivership process.

The large industrial plant at 55 Domain Road in the South Waikato township of Putaruru previously operated as the primary wood processing operations of Pacific Pine Industries. The company - which exported finished timber to Australia and Europe - shut down its operations over the Christmas/New Year holiday period.

Building infrastructure totalling some 10,773 square metres on the now derelict site include the main sawmill building, a machinery maintenance workshop, multiple drying sheds, kiln cool sheds, a heat generation plant building, planer mill building, and extensive administration offices and staff amenities.

The equipment, machinery and plant previously used in Pacific Pine Industries.’ wood milling and processing activities is being offered for sale separately - with the option for the inventory to be included in a land and building sale if required.

The 6.8 hectare Putaruru site is surrounded by boundary fencing - enclosing extensive yard areas, including a metalled car parking area. The freehold property and buildings now being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Tauranga, with the tender process closing on March 5. Salespeople Brendon Bradley and Ryan Bradley said the premises was being sold ‘as is’ without any warranties.

Brendon Bradley said there was the strong possibility that the Pacific Pine Industries plant could be bought by an existing lumber processor and manufacturer based elsewhere in the county, and the machinery and plant removed from the Putaruru site.

"Under that dynamic of breaking down the assets, the resulting substantial portfolio of empty shed space - along with the significant amount of yarding - would suit the purposes of a freight forwarding or logistics company… particularly as Putaruru sits directly on the country’s main highway on the edge of the ‘Golden Triangle’," he said.

"It could also be developed into a multi-occupant trucking services hub similar to the 4.35 hectare Stag Park Truck Stop operating in Taupo. Sitting on State Highway One, Putaruru is on an equidistant axis between Rotorua, Tauranga, and Hamilton."

The Stag Park Truck Stop is predominantly operated by Truck Stops New Zealand Ltd, and is used 24/7 by some of the biggest truck and trailer haulage units running on New Zealand's roads, as well as the 'B-trains' which feature two trailers linked together by a fifth wheel.

The location enables drivers for numerous big trucking firms to 'swap-in' and 'swap-out' of their driving roles - depending on how many hours they have been behind the wheel, and where they are heading.

"The former Pacific Pine Industries administrative block has bathroom and canteen amenities in place which could service the needs of long-haul drivers, while the yard space would allow for secure lay-overs just a few hundred metres away from the state highway network.," Mr Bradley said.

Ryan Bradley said that while the expansive array of industrial building infrastructure on the Domain Road site was obviously naturally suited to wood processing activities, the buildings would also be amply suitable for accommodating the production facilities for New Zealand’s newest emerging primary sector crop… medicinal cannabis.

"The high-stud warehouses have historically been used for timber drying and plank storage, and have a size and structure identical to industrial premises currently being sourced by some of the big medicinal cannabis production companies pending operating in New Zealand," Mr Bradley said.

"However, the per square metre rate for a rural location such as Putaruru offers a significant discount to comparably-sized industrial locations in the likes of Auckland, Hamilton or Wellington.

"The drying sheds could be converted from drying wood to drying the harvested medicinal cannabis before further processing takes place, and of course the existing heating production equipment would allow for year-round cannabis crop production.

"There is also a considerable amount of unused flat yard space within the property which could sustain a near doubling in the size of the existing warehousing hot-house amenities. And of course the administrative commercial offices and staff facilities are in a ‘turn-key’ state, having only been shut a month or so ago."

"Whatever new ownership permutation, it would be a real ‘shot in the arm’ for for the South Waikato community and economy to see a swift takeover of the site and the potential for new job creation to pick up the skilled labour force in the area."

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