Countdown today opened its 183rd New Zealand store, targeting office workers and apartment dwellers in Auckland's Wynyard Quarter on the waterfront.
The new 650sq m metro-sized store is on the ground floor of Infratil's new $70 million seven-level block on the corner of Halsey and Pakenham St.
That building is mainly a hotel: the 154-level Travelodge Hotel Auckland Wynyard Quarter but it has ground-floor retail space.
The new block opened late last year also has a 385-space car park on its Fanshawe St side beside the NZ Bus site.
Countdown says it now has two metro stores, 180 full-sized supermarkets and three e-stores including Grey Lynn Central.
A spokesperson said the new Wynyard metro was the chain's second smallest store, "but it has been specially designed, with more than 4500 products which have been tailored to the growing residential population nearby, as well as local workers and commuters".
The Countdown Metro Albert Street opened in December 2019, and another new store is being built in Herne Bay on the corner of Jervois Rd and Kelmarna Ave. Ben Cook announced that $40 million development this month.
Countdown has taken a 12-year lease on a new 1800sq m purpose-built store now under construction. The project will have 54 carparks and around 80 people will work in the store, opposed by some locals who instead wanted apartments to be built there.
Demolition of The Gables on the corner site for many years was underway this month.
Cook bought that site from New Zealand's wealthiest private developers, Mansons TCLM.
Matt Grainger, Countdown's acting general manager of property, said today the Wynard Quarter had a unique customer base. People there were looking for variety and staples.
"Supermarkets became an even more integral part of people's lives and on this side of the inner city there's been a notable lack of choice, whether that's the growing number of people who live in the quarter or the thousands of people who work here," he said.
Fruit, vegetables, meat, bakery items, ready-to-go meals, sandwiches, barista made-coffee, salads, health-focused snack options and take-home dinners are for sale.
Metro Halsey Street will trade from 6am till 8pm Monday to Friday, and 8am till 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
Viv Beck, Heart of the City chief executive, said: "It's exciting to see the ongoing regeneration of this part of the city centre, it really is a fabulous destination. We warmly welcome Countdown to the area with a new offer tailored to the growing and diverse market."
Andrew Lamb, Infratil Infrastructure Property development director, said the business had further plans for the area around the new building which it owns. \
He described $500m plans which could see a further 80,000sq m of commercial space added. Some parts of the site can take a 13-level block, he said.
"The next two buildings will be commercial. We have resource consent for one but that's going to be tenant-led because 2020 has been a pretty tough year and we're going to have to take into account where the market is," Lamb said in September.
To complete the 22,000sq m hotel/car parking/shop/office building 1 where the new Countdown is, Infratil reconfigured NZ Bus usage of the Halsey St end of the site.
So 16 workshops were reduced to eight and 70 car parks have been leased for NZ Bus staff to park their private vehicles, taking up less space on the site, Lamb said.
Bus servicing which was not urgent is now done at the Swanson depot.