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Showing growth . . . Commercial developments are taking shape in Alexandra at both ends of the town. Highlanders players and fans recently flocked to one of the new developments on Russell St. PHOTO: SUPPLIED BY CLARE TOIA-BAILEY

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz

Alexandra is showing signs of growth following the near completion of one of the town’s latest business developments.

The business hub, which houses Industry Lane Eatery, a conference centre and Will Bike, on Russell St, opened earlier this month and will soon be joined by primary health network Well South, Breen Homes and Breen Construction design team.

The project, which is the work of Raggedy Range, has been in the pipeline for six years.

The aim was to create a business hub, complete with a cafe to make it a destination for everyone to enjoy, including people cycling the Otago Central Rail Trail, company director Lindsay Breen said.

“As things do, they start as an idea.”

Doc had supported the concept, along with the Central Otago District Council (CODC), he said.

The opening weekend exceeded expectations for cafe co-owner operator Jen Frewen.

The cafe attracted about three times as many customers as she had predicted, prompted by the range of events that were taking place in the area during opening weekend.

Among those customers were Highlanders rugby players, who ultimately attracted a fan base to the business hub, which covers about 900sq m.

“It got pretty well used,” Mr Breen said, of opening weekend.

“It was a big start to the operation.”

Although some tenants were already in business, others would not be able to take up residence for about another two months while fitting out was completed.

Another 400sqm development would take place next to the car park, but it was not yet known who the tenants would be, Mr Breen said.

Industrial development is also taking shape off Alexandra’s Boundary Rd.

Molyneux Estate, the company behind the project, has five of its 27 sections still for sale.

Director Bob Kilgour said the majority of those still on the market were about 2000sqm in size.

“It was something we started five to six years ago and we are basically getting to the end of it.”

Most of the sections already sold had been built on, he said.

“In my experience, this is one of the best years in many years.” – Alexandra Clyde and District Business Group secretary Stu Millis.

One block of land already includes a Placemakers store and Benchmark Construction was among the companies planning to take up residence soon.

Benchmark Construction partners John MacKay and Leon van Boxtel bought two lots – one for the company’s workshop and offices and the other, a 1.5ha lot to be used as its yard.

“It will be about three times the size of what we are in at the moment.”

Mr MacKay said that meant more space and a more enjoyable work environment.

Construction is expected to start in May and, all going to plan, it will be finished by December.

Alexandra Clyde and District Business Group secretary Stu Millis said the growth of Alexandra’s industrial and commercial sector was pleasing.

“In my experience, this is one of the best years in many years.

“The industrial side and commercial side of [development] is very good.”

However, he said retail was still struggling in the town.

“There are still businesses coming into the retail [centre, but] they are competing against the internet.”

He was concerned about the lack of land for further development in the future.

The progress of development in the area will be discussed by the Alexandra Clyde and District Business Group at the Cellar Door tomorrow at 7am.

Anyone wanting to attend the breakfast can register their interest by emailing sj.jvmillis@gmail.com