Scentre Group has just revealed $790 million plans for Westfield Newmarket and confirmed the long-expected arrival of Australian department store David Jones in Auckland.
Greg Miles, Scentre's chief operating officer and David Thomas, David Jones chief executive, jointly announced the plans this morning, bringing 230 new speciality stores, cinemas, restaurants and dining areas to the country's wealthiest urban area.
"Scentre Group today announced the commencement of its $790m redevelopment of Westfield Newmarket, creating a world-class retail and lifestyle destination in the heart of Auckland," the joint statement said, clarifying that Scentre's share was $400m. It owns the mall in a joint venture with Singapore's GIC.
"Incorporating multiple sites over 4.5ha, the Broadway site will be home to Auckland's first David Jones department store, a new format Farmers department store, Countdown supermarket and more than 230 new speciality stores.
"Westfield Newmarket will showcase New Zealand's best fashion, with a compelling mix of local and international designers, new-to-market brands and some of the most well-known retailers from New Zealand and Australia.
"A rooftop lifestyle, dining and entertainment precinct, integrating a new state-of-the-art Event Cinemas complex offering V-Max and Gold Class, will encompass some of the country's finest food and beverage experiences in a vibrant outdoor environment, providing Newmarket's local community and the wider Auckland population with an exceptional leisure and hospitality experience," the statement said.
Miles said: "We're incredibly excited to be embarking on the transformation of Westfield Newmarket in collaboration with our joint venture partner, GIC."
The mall would bring a top fashion, food, technology, lifestyle and entertainment experience which would be unrivalled in this country, he said.
Thomas said: "We know New Zealanders are well-travelled and fashion savvy with an appetite for international brands and world-class shopping experiences. We are focused on exceeding these expectations when we open our first Auckland store as part of the exciting new Westfield Newmarket redevelopment."
David Jones would combine the best of New Zealand with global brands, he said.
The existing mall is just over 30,000sq m but the statement said the new project would be 73,900sq m "and is due for completion in the fourth quarter of 2019."
Connal Townsend, Property Council chief executive, said: "The announcement today of this substantial commercial property investment in the Auckland market is very welcome news."
New Zealand's capital markets were in good shape but without additional overseas investment they would never be deep enough to support the growth targets set by the Government and Auckland Council or meet the natural population pressures, Townsend said.
"Auckland portrays itself as a Pacific rim city. If we accept that is the case, then it must compete for international investment with other cities in Australia, North America and south-east Asia. Today's announcement then is a great vote of confidence in further development of New Zealand's premier commercial centre," Townsend said.
The sites to be developed are the existing 277 mall property where 112 retailers have traded and the 309 Broadway site across Mortimer Pass, where Farmers has traded.
The area has a $9b annual retail spend and Westfield Newmarket had more than 1000 carparks before it shut yesterday.
A media briefing is now under way in Newmarket and further details of the big project are expected to be released this morning.