A 10-year plan to progressively develop the Mills Reef site in Bethlehem into a quality lifestyle retirement village “The Vines at Bethlehem” has gained resource consent from the Tauranga City Council.

The development includes 198 two- and three-bedroom villas to be built over several stages, in free-standing and duplex configurations. The landmark Mills Reef art-deco winery building is to be retained as a centrepiece and focal point for the community, along with a full range of facilities, including a spa, gym, bowling green and indoor lap pool.

Whilst the owners have accepted that urban sprawl is squeezing the prestigious winery and restaurant operation off its Bethlehem site, the project has been staged to ensure a seamless transition and eventual relocation of the winery to a fresh site elsewhere in the Western Bay.

The award-winning winery and popular restaurant/wedding venue will not be inhibited by construction activity for several years, says Tim Preston, a director of Preston Group Ltd, the land owner.

Stage 1 of the retirement village is to commence in February on the neighbouring property adjoining the Mills Reef site, with construction of the first 17 villas.

Tim Preston says the aim is to create a truly modern retirement haven that enjoys all the latest facilities, incorporating the newest techniques in urban design, roading and streetscaping.

Preston Group is teaming up with Classic Builders to ensure the quality of the development, which is being built to the requirements of the Retirement Village Act.Peter Cooney, a director at Classic Builders, says the development is in keeping with Bethlehem’s status as the most desired retirement area in the North Island.

  • There will be extensive landscaping, with a 10-metre setback from Moffat Rd, and the park-like feeling will be maintained.
  • The art deco winery building will be retained.
  • The whole site will be ringed by a walking track and fitness trail for residents.
  • The development process could take up to 10 years to complete, with the winery and restaurant/wedding venue staying put for the next five years.
  • The winery operation will eventually relocate to expanded facilities that enable it to take full advantage of its international success in the industry.

Key Points

Mills Reef Winery & Restaurant has been affected by urban sprawl, which hinders its
business operations.

  • It has not been sold.
  • The winery and restaurant will not be closing – it is business as usual.
  • Initial development will be on the neighbouring land (stage 1 & 2).
  • The winery will not be affected by the proposed development for at least 3-4 years.
  • The winery will be relocating to a fresh site in the Western Bay, but not for at least 4-5