Burnie Battle

The northern Tasmanian coastal town of Burnie has been the site of some corporate to-ing and fro-ing in recent months. The Advocate newspaper reported that Bunnings had submitted an application to build a warehouse on the 3.5-hectare site of a former paper mill complex.

“Bunnings’ proposed investment in the Burnie area will provide great job opportunities for the local community, with 90 new positions available in the Bunnings team,” Bunnings Chief Operating Officer, Peter Davis, said at the time.

Bunnings said its new proposal was planned to open by mid-2013. The warehouse would offer specialised trade supplies and home improvement items, with space for indoor and external timber trade areas, an outdoor nursery and parking. It is understood Bunnings would need to secure a rezoning of the land for its plan to get approval.

The story came on the back of an earlier report in the newspaper suggesting Woolworths was looking at acquiring the Timber Land business located almost opposite the proposed Bunnings site. Timber Land’s Lloyd Pegus confirmed to AHJ that he had received an offer from Woolworths to buy the business and freehold but that he had knocked it back, preferring instead to close the business down in preparation for retirement. The Advocate suggested that a Timberland buyout would have allowed Woolies to have a ready-made store up and running before Bunnings could set up in the city. Pegus had tried to sell Timber Land several years ago, prior to the global economic meltdown that resulted in overly cautious banks reigning in borrowing levels. As a result, potential buyers fell away.

Pegus said it was financially more beneficial to sell the freehold, fittings, plant and equipment and stock in Timber Land than to accept the Woolworths offer. Timber Land will be closing on September 29.