Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Papamoa Plaza on track to open food court

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The $20 million dollar Papamoa Plaza re-development is ahead of schedule with a new food court due to open in October.

Centre manager David Hill said the project had progressed faster than expected with demand for stores outweighing space available.

Local and national retailers would feature throughout the shopping centre while confirmed businesses for the food court included Smile Sushi, Hot Wok, Great Spice, Petra
Kebabs, Burger Foundry, Pita Pit and Tank Juice.

They were set to open on October 27 alongside Spark, Omnitech and Acquisitions, a unique giftware store that would branch into Tauranga for the first time, Mr Hill said. They were due to announce another ten stores in the near future, he said.

Designed to feature contemporary architecture Mr Hill said the plans encompassed a village green and outdoor seating.

An evening dining precinct would also be created next year while the final stage of the revamp was likely to accommodate five larger format stores.

"Papamoa is finally getting the retail offer it has been hanging out for. It is the fastest growing suburb and quite possibly the most underserviced.

"Feedback from the community has been amazing, people are over the moon."

Unashamedly it was all about Papamoa, he said.

"We are building a development that Papamoa wants and deserves and has been asking for."

Traditionally foot traffic dropped through re-developments but the complete opposite had happened, Mr Hill said, with 2.8 million people visiting the plaza annually.

"Turnover and foot traffic are up in the double digits percentage wise so it's pretty unquie and speaks volumes about Papamoa. They are really engaged in the development with some people coming back three or four times a week to see what is going on."

Tinline, a Nelson-based company brought Papamoa Plaza in 2013 and Mr Hill said the owners "could not be happier" and the project had exceeded all expectations.

By the end of 2018, 50 or 60 stores would be at the centre.

"We are thrilled and excited and love being here," Mr Hill said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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