Property editor of the NZ Herald

Topshop style for Queen St

Store’s opening will help cement area as city’s youth fashion precinct: leasing agent.

Auckland Council's design champion Ludo Campbell-Reid. Photo / Dean Purcell
Auckland Council's design champion Ludo Campbell-Reid. Photo / Dean Purcell

New premises for Topshop and Topman in the Q&V Building opposite Whitcoulls in Queen St were leased to the business when the building was sold last year, an agent says.

Nathan Male, retail leasing agent of Metro Commercial who leased the Auckland premises for use by the brand, said the building was bought by Tan Chee Hoe & Sons which also own Auckland's West Plaza Building at 3 Albert St and 180 Molesworth St, Wellington.

Through its Singaporean parent company, the business is also the majority shareholder in the Singapore-listed Hotel Grand Central and via its Grand Hotels International Group, Hotel Grand Central, owns and operates Hotel Grand Chancellor Auckland City at 1 Hobson St, Hotel Grand Chancellor Auckland Airport and the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor in Wellington.

The building has previously been owned by interests associated with Sir Noel Robinson and Ben Cook.

Topshop in New Zealand is being run by Top Retail with the national rights to own, develop and operate the brand, including its men's offshoot Topman.

Top Retail is owned by Karen Walker, Barkers and Christchurch's Philip Carter and Male said they wanted to establish a prominent store, planning alterations to the building's ground-floor facade.

Queen St was changing, Male said, because the first CBD Cotton On Mega store would also soon open in the ex-Farmers premises.

"These two heavyweights will add critical mass to the area and firmly cement it as the youth fashion precinct of the city," Male said.

Queen St was now divided into precincts: luxury goods and tourism retail focused in lower Queen, chain fashion stores occupying the central area, and youth fashion/retail dominating from Victoria St towards Karangahape Rd.

Swarovski, Prada and Christian Dior will open later this year on the ground level of the 15-storey office tower, owned by AMP Capital Property Portfolio, on the corner of Queen and Customs Sts. Male said Swarovski will also open a boutique shop to add to the strengthening of lower Queen St as a magnet for luxury brands.

Male said Precinct Properties' redevelopment of its Downtown Shopping Centre would further change the mix. "By 2019, central Auckland will have a vastly improved central retail area," Male predicted.

"Auckland Council initiatives to invest in the public realm have been followed by private sector investment, in particular around the waterfront and in the development of shared use streets through the CBD, all of which have considerably increased the attractiveness of the city to shoppers and retailers alike.

"Areas of the city such as Darby/Elliott Sts and Fort St have all improved and become desirable locations - a far cry from where Fort St was even five years ago," Male said.

Ludo Campbell-Reid, Auckland Council's design champion, said Topshop's move would strengthen Queen St because retailers like that were exactly what the strip and Auckland generally need to offer choice to residents and visitors.

Mayor Len Brown had aspirations to make Queen St the country's top shopping destination. "We need the quality boutique local retail brands that New Zealand is so good at but we also need a blend of international or global brands and retail super stars which visitors desire and crave," Campbell-Reid said.

"The key thing for retail is people and pedestrian traffic, which rose 33 per cent as a result of the Queen St upgrade, and the pedestrian-friendly measures that were also included," he said. "Since then, the shared spaces programme has lifted the game and have, I believe, created a shift towards people understanding that the pedestrian - not the car - is the economic powerhouse of all great cities.

"If you build a city for people, you attract people."

All change

Topshop and Topman: Moving to 203 Queen St (previously ANZ).
Cotton on Mega: Moving to 230-242 Queen St (previously Farmers).
Prada, Christian Dior and Swarovski: Moving to 45 Queen St (Tower Centre lobby, in premises which were occupied by National Bank, Watches of Switzerland and Champions of the World).
[Source: Nathan Male, Metro Commercial]

- NZ Herald

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