Christchurch’s quite literally changed business landscape has seen companies of all shapes and sizes relocate to blur traditional zoning demarcation lines.
At the same time designated industrial areas have benefitted as the demand for hot business spots has risen. A good example is the Izone Southern Business Hub in Rolleston.
Being more than 180ha makes Izone the largest industrial park in New Zealand and already home to the likes of The Warehouse, Westland Milk Products, Solid Energy and PGG Wrightson.
One of the newest residents is New Zealand’s most high-tech glass processing plant, Fairview Metal Industries Group (FMI).
The 2,400m² manufacturing plant represents a $10 million investment by FMI – an Australasian window and door designer and distributer which markets its products under two brand names – Fairview and Elite.
FMI director Warren Lewis says in some ways it is a South Island homecoming for the company which was founded in Timaru in 1909. FMI is now headquartered in Auckland and employs more than 250 people throughout Australasia.
Increasing freight costs were making it uneconomic to service the company’s traditional South Island customers, Lewis says. In order for FMI to retain its traditional customers and prepare for when the building industry bounces back, the company realised it needed a plant in the South Island.
“We chose Izone because of its location next to State Highway One and because we were able to buy enough land to allow us, in the future, to double in size. It’s also pretty special to be in a well constructed business park with views of the Southern Alps and a local workforce nearby.”
FMI imports glass through the Port of Lyttelton because there are no New Zealand manufacturers. The glass is prepared on an Italian-designed table and cut by an automated glass cutter. The latest Finnish technology is used to strengthen the glass and then, in a New Zealand first, another Italian-designed machine makes ‘warm edge’ insulated glass which is more efficient than the traditional ‘cold edge’ glass.
“By using the latest technology we will be producing the most thermally efficient insulated glass in the country at a higher volume than our competitors with fewer overheads.”
The business park is owned by Selwyn District Council and managed by Hughes Developments Limited.
Its director, Robin Hughes, says a strength of the industrial park has been its attractiveness to businesses involved in agriculture and warehousing/logistics.
“For warehousing and logistics operations, Izone’s location next to both State Highway One and the intersection of the Southern and Midland rail lines is ideal. “We are also within ready distance of the Port of Lyttelton and Christchurch International Airport.
“Our other attraction is that in addition to selling land, Izone tailors design-and-build packages that meet business needs, including lease options,” Mr Hughes says.
More than 35 companies within the manufacturing, distribution and agricultural sectors, have already made Izone their home, a list that is growing quickly.
“Izone combines the skills and resources of both the public and private sectors. The result is a commercially driven project backed by the financial strength of a progressive and forward thinking local authority. Izone’s success is part of the reason Selwyn ranks consistently among the country’s fastest growing regions,” he says.