The mushrooming of new retailing opportunities in Napier seems set to continue, despite what will be the opening of at least 27 new or redeveloped shops in a year.
The shops are around what is become a new golden half-kilometre on Hastings St, including the near ends of Emerson St and Dickens St.
When new-to-town women's clothing store Merric opens today, it will become the sixth to open in less than three weeks, and the fourth to open on the Emerson St frontage of the old Farmers site being redeveloped by Havelock North-based Wallace Developments.
The others which have just opened are the surfwear shop Backdoor and gift specials @cquisitions fronting Emerson St, relocated Pascoes the Jewellers on the former ANZ Bank corner, and Hastings St neighbours and manicurists Pretty Nails and Beauty.
The past few months has also seen opening of six shops in new buildings or refurbished premises neighbouring the new Farmers, including the four in Paxie's Lane between Hastings St and Marine Parade, while clothing shop Cotton On's relocation has led the reoccupation of the old Farmers site.
But the ink is still hitting the dotted lines, with West Plaza Developments confident all five shops in its new complex on the former Caledonian Hotel/Commercial Building, on the southern corner of Hastings St and Dickens St, will be filled when it opens in March-April.
Company principal Glynn Pointon said the fifth contract was signed on Friday, with at least two other parties queuing for space and having to look elsewhere.
He was unable to name the new tenants, but retailing sources in Napier say they include outdoor specialists Kathmandu.
Real estate agent Robyn Burns is also working on letting seven ground floor spaces in the refurbished Napier Central Post Office Building on the other Dickens St and Hastings St corner.
It includes the return of New Zealand Post and KiwiBank from temporary premises in the Balmoral shopping centre off Wellesley Rd, and the relocation of Vodafone, which will front Dickens St and the city council carpark.
Even more announcements are expected, with the century-old Williams Building on the seaward side of Hastings St set for redevelopment, and a building neighbouring Dunvegan House having just been sold and demolished.
The relocation of some businesses does, however, leave other CBD sites unoccupied.
While an increase in foot traffic has been evident in the zone which has seen the biggest commercial redevelopment in Hawke's Bay since the years after the 1931 earthquake, there are concerns now for lower Emerson St (between Dalton St and Clive Square).