Four major new stores, including Pak'nSave, will open their doors to the public today after the official opening yesterday of Tauranga's newest shopping centre.
The Warehouse, Noel Leeming, Warehouse Stationery and ANZ were the first Tauranga Crossing shops to open on September 15 and are today joined by Pak'nSave, ProfessioNail, The Crossing Pharmacy and Sharing Shed.
Throughout October and November, Eves Realty, helloWorld, Hollywood Bakery, House of Travel, Look Sharp and Vivo Hair & Beauty will open as well as the outdoor food and hospitality lane, The Millyard, including The Coffee Club, Pita Pit, Hello Sushi, Spice Traders and The Mill House.
The owner/developers of Tauranga Crossing have ambitious plans to eventually develop not only all of the current 11ha shopping centre site, but also an additional 6ha on the other side of Taurikura Drive.
The first stage, a 17,000sq m shopping centre anchored by leading major brands the Warehouse, Noel Leeming, Warehouse and Pak'nSave, was officially opened yesterday morning.
"It's a reflection of our nodal development strategy, where communities can have easy access to shopping and hospitality as well as employment, sport, leisure and recreation," said mayor Stuart Crosby, who unveiled a commemorative plaque at the opening ceremony, which included a blessing earlier in the morning by Kalani Tarawa of Ngai Tamarawaho.
Mr Crosby emphasised the importance of the region's Smart Growth plan in enabling the latest development.
"This is very much a prime example of the strategy," he said.
Tauranga Crossing is owned by Auckland investors Richard Stillwell and Adrian Burr, and Queenstown's Mark Taylor. They acquired the consented land about three-and-a-half years ago. At least 90 per cent of the stage one shopping centre is already leased.
Mr Taylor said that in the New Year, Tauranga Crossing would begin developing stage two, which could be up to 27,000sq m, though it may be smaller depending on layout and parking.
Stage two will include the Tauranga Crossing Event Cinema complex, with six cinemas including NZ's first regional Vmax cinema. Site works have begun and the six-theatre multiplex will open in the middle of 2018, with more than 1000 seats.
Stage two will also include an enclosed mall, with national and international brands, new dining and entertainment concepts and an extended carpark.
In the future, the developers also plan to build 23,000sq m of mostly large format retail space on the site across the road, which will be called The Depot at Tauranga Crossing, said Mr Taylor.
Located at the intersection of SH29, SH36 and Takitimu Drive, Tauranga Crossing neighbours both the Tauriko Business Estate - which will be the new workplace for more than 5000 people - and The Lakes residential estate, which will be home to 7000 residents upon completion.
"Plans for the area began over 10 years ago and the recent population growth has now enabled this ambitious regional centre project to commence," said Mr Taylor. "We want to support the growth of the region, providing better access to good brands and bringing income and jobs to the community."
Fellow director Adrian Burr said the development of The Lakes was a major driver for Tauranga Crossing. "Housing pressure is giving us the impetus for this," he said.
Tauranga City Council chief executive Garry Poole said the investment in Tauranga Crossing was a demonstration of confidence from outside investors.
"These guys are coming from outside our city and investing significant money, and that's a really positive thing," he said. "It's a sign of confidence in the future of the city."
Noel Leeming chief executive Tim Edwards, who attended Monday's opening ceremony, said the retailer had experienced a "tremendous weekend" at its new Tauranga Crossing store.
After a soft opening, Noel Leeming had a heavily advertised Friday opening with special deals.
"We had 40-odd people lined up on Friday morning," he said. "We also really traded well throughout the weekend."
Branch manager Jonathan Mills said there had been a mixture of customers on opening day, with people coming from as far afield as Te Kuiti and Te Puke for the specials.
"They were from all over the show, but mostly from Te Puna, Bethlehem and The Lakes," said Mr Mills. But Saturday and Sunday saw a large number of local people, he said.
Mr Edwards said Noel Leeming had been confident in the area's future when it committed to the greenfield development two-and-half years ago. The company already has stores in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga City.
"We feel confident there is more than enough business in Tauranga to sustain the Tauranga Crossing store," said Mr Edwards.
"You never know with the economy, but I think it's worked out well and it's only going to get better. Centres like this tend to trade very well in year two and three once customers have got used to it."