Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Kiwi eyes big LynnMall extension

Property trust says $50m project would add 1.5ha of floor space to centre but it's still awaiting consent

Kiwi Income's master plan for LynnMall includes an entertainment precinct and cinemas.
Kiwi Income's master plan for LynnMall includes an entertainment precinct and cinemas.

Kiwi Income Property Trust plans a major expansion of its $187.8 million LynnMall shopping centre in Auckland's New Lynn, possibly spending up to $50 million.

Chris Gudgeon, Kiwi chief executive, said a resource consent application was lodged last year to expand by 1.5ha of floor space, taking the mall from 32,000sq m to 47,000sq m. The amount spent would be probably nearer $50 million than $100 million.

Consent is not yet granted and Gudgeon said there were no immediate plans to build on the site straddling a block between Great North Rd, Totara Ave, Memorial Dr and Veronica St in New Lynn, West Auckland.

"It could be years away. We're just putting in place the building blocks. We want to get planning in place for the future. LynnMall is capable of being a bigger and better offer," Gudgeon said of the property which has 1412 carparks and earns Kiwi $15.3 million annual net rental from total annual sales of $223.8 million.

The property presents Kiwi with big opportunities.

"As far as the Auckland Plan is concerned, New Lynn is a growth centre so it's got metropolitan centre status in the Auckland spatial plan.

"Auckland Council has earmarked it for growth and infrastructure so there's been the railway and roading improvements, and you can see what's happening with the transport centre there and what Infratil has done in that area around the Merchant Quarter," Gudgeon said.

"What we're doing is planning ahead and we have a master plan for LynnMall which includes an entertainment precinct and cinemas ... we've undertaken market research and we think our customers would love to see that."

The food offering at the mall would be included in that multiplex expansion in what Gudgeon referred to as a dining lane.

Building out towards Great North Rd and activating the edge of the centre, with shops on the street front, was on the cards.

He said architecture work had been done by Dave Thornton of the Buchan Group, a business Kiwi had worked with on Hamilton's Centre Place shopping centre.

Kiwi has total real estate valued at $2 billion and Derek Battersby, Whau Local Board chairman, said his organisation was extremely supportive of Kiwi's "magnificent" mall revamp.

Battersby said the property had big potential and additions would be a significant boost to the community.

In a low-key way, Kiwi revealed on an Auckland asset tour last March that it had big ambitions for the site, saying "master planning" was progressing. Property experts believe Kiwi will build out to the edges of the site on the carpark facing Great North Rd, adding a multiplex cinema and many more street-front shops.

"We're looking at the whole mix - the food and entertainment, the mix of the [retailing] majors and mini-majors and specialties to get the right mix," said Gudgeon.

Last year, Kiwi said master planning on the mall was progressing, sales were up, a food court upgrade was complete and new branding and signage was up.

Gudgeon said the Farmers store had been upgraded and a 15-year lease was negotiated "and they're really trading well".

Kiwi investor information said the shopping centre opened in 1963.

"It has been refurbished and extended over the years and is anchored by a Farmers department store, Countdown supermarket and a cluster of popular mini-major retailers," Kiwi said of the mall, next to the new integrated rail and bus interchange by the expanding Merchants Quarter.

- NZ Herald

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