A new al fresco dining precinct will officially open to the public today as part of Bayfair Shopping Centre's $115 million redevelopment.

Six of eight new restaurants including Burger Burger, Mexico, Nandos, Izakai, The Freeport Tavern and Eatery from Little Creatures, and Cleaver and Co will open in the new precinct called Dine at Bayfair.

Centre management Steve Ellingford said he was excited to celebrate another milestone in the redevelopment of the mall, which had been in the community for more than 30 years.

"The opening of these new restaurants comes at the ideal time to meet increasing local demand for superior dining and entertainment options for individuals, couples, families and groups of friends, all of whom can now enjoy city-style dining conveniently close to home," he said.

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The new dining precinct is the second stage of the multi-million-dollar redevelopment, which unveiled more than 30 new retailers in December 2018 followed by the opening of gaming arcade Timezone in April this year.

A seven-screen 1300-plus seat cinema with a Dolby Atmos sound system is expected to open later this year or early 2020.

Bayfair Shopping Centre will officially open its new alfresco dining precinct on May 30. Photo / Supplied
Bayfair Shopping Centre will officially open its new alfresco dining precinct on May 30. Photo / Supplied

The development is being managed by AMP Capital on behalf of centre owners AMP Capital Shopping Centre Fund and Fisher Funds.

More than 400 construction jobs had been created by the development, which on completion was estimated to employ more than 1500 people.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said the new dining precinct provided another great food offering for the city.

"It has a huge range of quality, mid-market food offerings that are easily accessible for everyone," he said.

"The CBD and Mount Mainstreet are still the region's premier restaurant destinations when people want to treat themselves."

Hospitality New Zealand Bay of Plenty regional manager Alan Sciascia said the new precinct will offer more dining options "over and above" what already exists.

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Tauranga's population growth attracted new businesses to the area, he said.

"More people means more customers. It's really that simple."

The challenge for existing businesses will now be retaining current clientele who will be inclined to try out the new eateries, Sciascia said.

Japanese bar and eatery with Kiwi fusion Izakai is one of eight new restaurants in the brand new dining precinct. Photo / Supplied
Japanese bar and eatery with Kiwi fusion Izakai is one of eight new restaurants in the brand new dining precinct. Photo / Supplied

Izakai, a traditional Japanese food bar and eatery with a New Zealand Maori influence, is one of the new restaurants opening in the new dining precinct.

Opening a restaurant in Bayfair could not have come at a better time for Mount Maunganui-born owner and general manager Liam Millard.

"To be able to start an eatery in my hometown was a dream come true," he said.

Millard said the restaurant's name combines izakaya and kai to make the connection between Japanese and Kiwi cuisine.

"A mate and I formed the concept in April 2017 when we were sitting in an izakaya in Hong Kong, where we had gone to watch the Rugby Sevens," he said.

"We talked about how it would be cool to have familiar Japanese food with a strong New Zealand influence - and as soon as we got back to New Zealand we set about turning the concept into reality."


Development details
- The majority of stores opened in late 2018, the final stage will include the opening of the cinema in late 2019 / early 2020.
- The development expands the centre's footprint by 9000sq m to a total of 42,000sq m, and adds another 50 specialty stores, bringing the total to 150 stores.
- About 1800 car park spaces and cycle parking.
- United Cinemas, with seven screens, more than 1300 seats and Dolby Atmos sound system to open late 2019/early 2020.
- Integrated al fresco dining precinct, with eight restaurants and casual food eateries including licensed operators.
- Accessible facilities such as a quiet room and up-to-date family facilities including additional parents' room.