With Resource Consent granted, the land purchased, and funding confirmed, a start will be made on building Hawke’s Bay’s new food innovation hub, ‘Foodeast’, in September.
The establishment of a new commercial entity signals the handover of the project from Hastings District Council and the Foodeast Establishment Board to a newly formed company.
“It is a very exciting time,” expressed inaugural board chairman Craig Foss.
“On completion Foodeast will provide a modern state of the art innovation centre, where food industry players can base themselves or meet, collaborate and innovate. This will be a step-change for our food and beverage industry; one that will foster product innovation to enable our industries to develop new offerings for both the New Zealand and international markets.”
Foodeast will offer commercial and industrial spaces available for lease, hot-desking and meeting and collaboration spaces, all built around a café and surrounded by landscaped grounds. On-site, Foodeast will have a small in-house team linking businesses to mentors and advisors, to enable them to commercialise new products.
The project’s three investors are Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) 67 percent, and Hastings District Council and Progressive Meats (16 percent each). The development of the facility is supported by $12m of funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Foss, who is also a director of HBRIC, noted that HBRIC is pleased to play its part as the lead investor, to support the ongoing growth of the food sector which contributes so much to the regional economy. He thanked Hastings District Council for its leadership of the project to this point, the Foodeast Establishment Board for its efforts, and Craig Hickson and the team at Progressive Meats for their ongoing commitment to the project and leadership within the sector.
“This is a great example of private-public partnership working to deliver great outcomes for the region.”
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says Hastings District Council, which had facilitated the project to date, is “extremely pleased to see it take its next steps. I am very excited to see the projects that are developed through Foodeast.”
“We are one of the most important food-growing regions in New Zealand and there is no end to how far it can be developed. We only have to look around at the innovators we have here, businesses like Rockit, Bostock, First Light, The Apple Press, Watties, Progressive Meats . . . barely a month goes by without one of our region’s companies making it into national or international news for their successes. Through this project, I have no doubt that we will see many more.”
The total construction and establishment cost is estimated at $18m and the facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. It is forecast to add $100m to the region’s GDP over 15 years and bring 500 new full-time jobs to Hawke’s Bay.
Foodeast will be located on Elwood Road, Hastings.