Fashion Island shopping centre in Papamoa has plenty of untapped potential.

The Bay of Plenty Times Weekend reported on Saturday that ACC had sold the retail hub, which it bought for $12.5 million in 2007, for a loss.

I hope the new owners know what an opportunity they have.

Papamoa is now one of the fastest-growing suburbs in the country, and Fashion Island and neighbouring Papamoa Plaza are the area's only major shopping centres.


The number of people living around the area who will go to Papamoa Plaza and Fashion Island to shop is only going to increase.

Any investment in the area will surely return profits.

Papamoa Plaza is in the midst of a major extension and revamp, and Fashion Island would do well to follow suit.

There is plenty of space there that could be used to better effect.

Hallensteins, Glassons, Hannahs Shoes, Overland Footwear, Meccano Men's Clothing, Colorado, Nevada Denim Surf and Skate, BB's Espresso and Sounds Music store were all tenants in the centre when it opened in 2006, but none of them remain.

A revamp is needed to draw more retailers back to the area.

The current layout is not ideal.

The wide roads and expanse of parking does not make it appealing and means the shops across the road seem a long way apart. Reconfiguring the shops and carparks would help.

Some people have suggested a playground or urban space in the middle. That's not a bad idea.

If you have something that draws people to the area, they will shop while they are there. More people could draw some of the big-name stores back, which would in turn draw more people.

Papamoa Plaza and Fashion Island are obviously competing with each other for shoppers but it would make sense to collaborate to a degree when it comes to any redevelopment.

They are right next to each other so complementary shops may encourage people to visit both areas while they are out and about.

I hope whoever owns the centre now is willing to invest the money to make it the great shopping area it could be.