Wholesale Distributors Ltd (WDL) will build a FreshChoice supermarket in the Alexandra Park urban village redevelopment near Green Lane West that will open in 2017 to offer "a new grocery concept for Auckland".

In making the announcement, Dominique Dowding, chief executive of Alexandra Park, says the planned supermarket is "a great match" for Alexandra Park village and will be a fusion of a delicatessen, cafe and a fresh food market.

"FreshChoice is focused on catering for locals' specific needs, sourcing quality local and international products and employing local staff. It's particularly exciting for our future apartment residents as it will offer some very personal touches including a delivery service and delicious ready-to-go-meals for those who want a night off cooking. Residents will even be able to order a platter by telephone if they are entertaining."

Dominique Dowding, CEO of Alexandra Park.
Dominique Dowding, CEO of Alexandra Park.

She describes FreshChoice's lease as a long-term commitment to the site, with the supermarket taking 1800 sq m, or about two thirds, of the first building's ground floor area. Lease negotiations for the balance of building are well advanced and Dowding expects the store to be open when the first residents start moving in.

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The supermarket will be owned and operated by Aucklanders Chris Harris and Juliet Monaghan who have successfully operated a popular FreshChoice at the Half Moon Bay marina for the past three years.

Dowding says the store is set to be a key commercial element in the Auckland Trotting Club's urban village redevelopment project, with major earthworks in the club's former carpark currently underway.

She says the supermarket announcement represents a significant early milestone for the entire project.

"Having a quality grocery outlet as a cornerstone tenant helps sets the tone. It reaffirms that this development will be a quality one showcasing, not only the best in apartment living, but the best in boutique retailing and fresh food and beverage," she says.

"The club is fielding a lot of interest and making great progress in its negotiation of leases for the prime ground floor retail, hospitality and commercial space in the development."

Ash Hira of Bayleys Real Estate says locking in Wholesale Distributors Ltd is a significant development and will lead to other lease announcements with a total of over 5500 sq m of ground-floor space available to rent, split beneath three apartment buildings.

He says the FreshChoice announcement reflects Alexandra Park's ambition to become Auckland's next restaurant and cafe destination with plenty of opportunity of alfresco dining in and around attractive promenades and public spaces.

Ash Hira, of Bayleys.
Ash Hira, of Bayleys.

Efforts are also being made to secure boutique lifestyle retailers offering the likes of giftware, homeware and beauty.

"This whole development will create a new heart for Epsom, which is long overdue," Hira says. "Given the very attractive catchment we're able to pick the best operators and those who can offer consumers something different. It's going to be a real destination," he says.

Dowding says the freehold apartments have selling extremely well in recent months with the majority of apartments in Stage One sold. "Stages Two and Three of the development have now come on the market known as Sightline Green and High Street," she says.