19 Mar 2024

Connings Food Market to take over Nelson site deemed not financially viable for affordable housing

2:04 pm on 19 March 2024
81 Achilles Ave, Nelson.

81 Achilles Ave, Nelson. Photo: Google Maps

Nelson City Council is leasing a central city site previously tagged for housing development to a market gardener.

The council had agreed to sell the site on Achilles Ave to Kāinga Ora for a social and affordable housing development - but it was canned last month after investigations by the organisation found it was not financially viable.

Nelson Mayor Nick Smith said the council unanimously agreed last week to an in-principle agreement for Connings to lease the Achilles Ave site for a pop-up store with the option of buying it to build a new food market. He said it was an exciting investment that would help to revitalise the central city and showcase the region's produce.

Market valuations will be completed for the site as part of the commercial negotiations between the council and Connings to finalise the agreement.

The Conning family have been growing produce on the Waimea Plains for 45 years, and the new store will be in addition to the current Connings Food Market store in Appleby.

Owner Simon Conning said up to 30 percent of its customers travelled from Nelson to its food market in the Tasman District, and the new store would bring its produce closer to Nelsonians.

"We pride ourselves on our service - providing high-quality, low food-mile fruit and vegetables. And because we are the growers, selling directly to customers, we can keep the costs down and offer great value for families."

The pop-up store will be established later this year in the former Hunting and Fishing building at 81 Achilles Ave.

It is currently leased by Community Art Works on a month-by-month basis, and the council was looking to find an alternative venue for the organisation before Connings took over the lease.