Newmarket happy with Westfield's latest move

By Anne Gibson

Newmarket businesses have welcomed moves by shopping centre giant Westfield NZ to develop its land holding in the area.

Cameron Brewer, Newmarket Business Association general manager, said the community was in no hurry for the $250 million retail development on Broadway but he was pleased about the latest move.

Last week, Westfield won approval to buy Coventry Lane which runs off Mortimer Pass and alongside its land holdings at 309 Broadway opposite Westfield 277.

Westfield wanted to build a three-level air bridge over Mortimer Pass to link its 309 Broadway site with 277 Broadway. But an agreement was struck with the city's urban design panel to scale this back to two levels.

Brewer said he understood the panel was happy with the look and feel of the plans and a high-quality facade on the 309 site would mirror the neighbouring 277.

The proposed Mortimer Pass airbridge would be relatively light-weight and similar to airbridges linking retailer David Jones in Sydney, he said.

The boundary border with the Highwic House property would also be softer than it is now, which was another plus, he said.

"It also makes sense for the stacked carparking to be under the new motorway viaduct. That will be a good use of a difficult space," he said.

"We're in no real hurry for Westfield's $250 million expansion given the current climate. We're quite happy for them to wait for market conditions to return. The last thing we need is surplus retail space. Newmarket traditionally has had the lowest retail vacancy rates in the country and we want to maintain that."

Shop leasing experts have noted a high level of tenancy turnover on the Remuera side of Broadway lately. They predict more is to come as the spending downturn bites harder.

- NZ Herald

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