Property editor of the NZ Herald

Ponsonby supermarket rises from famous hole

Auckland's newest supermarket has opened today, filling a spot once occupied by the city's most notorious vacant section.

Nikki Kaye, Auckland Central MP and a Cabinet minister, praised Countdown for showing social responsibility with its development which had been a hole in the ground.

"You took a punt and we're really grateful," she said. "Supermarkets can be real places of community."

The site was once known as the "Sohole" - a building site left flooded and abandoned when the Soho commercial development collapsed.

Dave Chambers, Countdown managing director, praised the property team including Adrian Walker and Brady Nixon.

The site was like a swimming pool in 2013 but $120 million was invested to regenerate that end of Ponsonby, Chambers said.

"This building will end up with 1200 people working in it," Chambers said of the Cider Building, named after the DYC vinegar factory once there.

Ralph Kemmler, Woolworths property director from Sydney, said the site had been purchased just after the GFC.

"There was not a lot of confidence in the market," Kemmler said. "So we were being counter cyclical".

It was relatively rare for Woolworths to be involved in mixed-use developments like at Ponsonby but he said he was pleased with the result.

Anti caged-egg protestors staged a demonstration outside the opening of the new Countdown.

A supermarket spokesman said up to 80 per cent of eggs being sold by the business were barn or free range.

- NZ Herald

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