Bayfair Shopping Centre's $115 million development will include 50 speciality stores, including a strong fashion mix, an alfresco dining precinct, a large cinema complex with seven screens and more than 1300 seats, and a new Countdown supermarket.

Representatives from retailers, local Iwi and the wider Tauranga community gathered this morning at the construction site.

A kaumatua from Ngāi Te Rangi blessed the site and waiata from students of Te Kura o Matapihi marked the occasion.

The development was officially launched today at a ground-breaking and blessing ceremony, will present a new-look retail offer with 50 specialty stores, including a strong fashion mix new to the region, an alfresco dining precinct, a large cinema complex with seven screens and more than 1300 seats, and a new Countdown supermarket.

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The investment in the development at Bayfair represents a significant measure of confidence in the centre, the Bay of Plenty region and the development and management teams at AMP Capital Shopping Centres.

"Bayfair serves an important role in the wider community as a major shopping destination in the region, which is experiencing significant economic and population growth and huge seasonal surges in tourism. As the region grows, we want to grow with it, and the development is part of future-proofing for that growth," Bayfair Centre Manager Steve Ellingford said.

The vision for Bayfair was to be the region's year-round retail and entertainment destination.

Bayfair announced new additions to the centre would include United Cinemas, international craft beer gastropub, Little Creatures, and Cleaver and Co bar and restaurant.

United Cinemas is an Australian-owned, award-winning chain of cinemas, owned and operated by the Mustaca Family. The Mustaca Family had acquired and built eight cinema complexes, with a total of 46 theatres, across Australia. Bayfair would be its first New Zealand cinema complex with seven screens and United's "Grand Theatre" set to house the largest screen and Dolby Atmos Digital Sound offering in the region.

United Cinemas Australia chairman Roy Mustaca said Bayfair was an appealing choice because the centre offered one of the most compelling fashion, lifestyle and entertainment experiences in the country.

"We want to be a part of the transformation and offer the people of the Bay of Plenty region an exceptional cinema experience. Each cinema will feature plush stadium seating, 300 electric grand recliners and our a la carte in theatre dining menu delivering quality food and beverage to patrons' seats. With the latest projection and 360-degree Dolby Atmos sound, the cinema will deliver a world-class movie experience."

An aerial view of BayFair Shopping Centre.
An aerial view of BayFair Shopping Centre.

Australian craft beer brewer Little Creatures will be another first for the Bay of Plenty. It is scheduled to open in December 2018 in the centre's new alfresco dining precinct and off the back of its first New Zealand opening at Catalina Bay in Hobsonville, Auckland.

The venue would offer the well-known and loved Little Creatures beers, alongside other quality beers from New Zealand and overseas.

Although not new to the centre, Countdown would have a brand-new look, relocating from its existing location to a newly built supermarket at the Harris and Carter Sts end of the centre.

Countdown's general manager property, Adrian Walker, said Countdown was excited to be bringing a modern new look to Bayfair Shopping Centre.

"The new Countdown will have some fantastic new features for the community including fresh, new look produce, deli and seafood departments.

"We have a strategy across all our stores to reduce our environmental footprint, and the new Bayfair store will have a focus on next-generation energy and reducing carbon emissions, to support our target to reduce our carbon emissions to 10 per cent below our 2015 levels by 2020," says Mr Walker.

"As part of our commitment to be single-use plastic carrier bag free by the end of 2018, the new Countdown Bayfair will open being single-use plastic carrier bag free."

Today's ceremony will start with a welcome by Bayfair Centre Manager, Steve Ellingford, followed by a blessing of the site, words from AMP Capital Shopping Centre Managing Director, Mark Kirkland, and a turning of the first sod.

Speaking of the development, Tauranga Mayor, Greg Brownless, said, "I want to congratulate the team of AMP Capital and the owners of Bayfair Shopping Centre on the successful launch of the first stage of this significant development. It really marks a major milestone for Tauranga as this project reflects the growth and changing needs and demographics of our city."

Development Details
•A development programme which includes stages opening pre-Christmas 2018 and completing Q3 2019.
•The centre's overall footprint is expected to expand by 9,000 square metres (sqm) to a total of 42,000 sqm.
•Approximately 50 specialty stores, including a strong fashion mix new to the centre and the region.
•1,820 car spaces, (an additional 200 spaces).
•Cycle parking.
•New concept Countdown supermarket.
•The Bay of Plenty's largest cinema complex with seven screens, more than 1,300 seats and Dolby Atmos sound system.
•Integrated alfresco dining precinct to complement the nearby cinema complex, with up to seven restaurants and casual food eateries including licensed operators.
•Modern family facilities, including a quiet room for children with sensory processing disorders such as autism.