Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Albany shopping centre building delay

The new centre will be near Westfield Albany. Photo / Richard Robinson
The new centre will be near Westfield Albany. Photo / Richard Robinson

Supermarket giant Progressive Enterprises will not begin building its $100 million Albany shopping centre with a 40-shop fashion precinct until next year.

The Australian-owned Countdown operator paid $40 million for the land and has been in negotiations with builders for the $60 million construction job due to begin this year.

But Progressive's communications manager, Luke Schepen, said there were delays.

"We have not commenced construction and we're still finalising some details. We've haven't chosen a builder," Schepen said. "Its timeline has been pushed out a little."

"We're not in a position to finalise construction tenders and no leasing has started. I don't have a start date."

However, Greenstone Group, which rose to prominence building apartments for failed ex-NZX listed Blue Chip, has announced it has won the right to run the project.

"Greenstone Auckland was awarded the development and project management roles for a new retail project being developed by Progressive Enterprises [Countdown] in Albany," Greenstone announced.

"The project is consented and construction is programmed to commence in spring 2012 with an opening in late 2013. This development includes a Countdown supermarket and approximately 40 specialty stores," Greenstone said.

Last year, a far more ambitious $200 million plan for the land was being floated, with apartments and offices on the land.

The site between Westfield Albany and the Northern Motorway behind the Mitre 10 Mega on Oteha Valley Rd has had an unfortunate past and Progressive initially only bought the leasehold for around $20 million.

Pressure from the Bank of Scotland resulted in Progressive paying a further $20 million to freehold the site so it now has total control.

Progressive wants to challenge the Foodstuffs (Auckland) dominance of the area, which runs its boutique-style New World in the Westfield mall and its big Pak'n Save next door, said to be one of New Zealand's single most profitable supermarkets.

Schepen said Countdown opened in Manurewa this week, would open in Wellington's Newtown next month, and in Mt Roskill and Tawa early next year.

Countdown Manurewa on Brown Rd is a 4200sq m shop with 255 carparks, employing about 120 staff, the business said.

Countdown has 160 supermarkets in New Zealand employing about 18,000 staff and selling about 20,000 products in each store.

Meanwhile, executives from British-headquartered Aviva were in Auckland yesterday, examining prospects of making their Shore City shopping centre a fashion hub.

They are expected to bring fashion brands to New Zealand which are active in their portfolio overseas and not already trading here.

Under construction

Albany: building not yet started.
Manurewa: opened this week.
Newtown, Wellington: next month.
Stoddard Rd, Mt Roskill: next year.
Tawa, Wellington: next year.

- NZ Herald

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