West Auckland is about to get a huge boost, after a big landlord this morning announced a $36 million expansion and upgrade of New Lynn's LynnMall shopping centre.
Cinema chain Readings will also make its debut in Auckland, picking the west over other areas.
Chris Gudgeon, Kiwi Income Property Trust chief executive, announced details of LynnMall's long-awaited expansion and also said the cinema chain would operate a big new cinema complex. New Lynn lost its last picture theatre 14 years ago.
Kiwi has owned the mall for four years and has been planning changes there for some time, regarding it as a huge expansion opportunity, but fresh details are now out.
"The trust is today announcing a $36 million development to create a new dining and entertainment precinct at LynnMall Shopping Centre," a statement from the company in its interim result said.
"The current retail offer will be expanded through the development of a new Reading Cinemas multiplex on a 15-year lease, complemented by a new dining precinct called 'The Brickworks', and additional specialty retail."
Gudgeon said expansion in the area was the reason Kiwi was moving now.
"The LynnMall redevelopment is a response to shopper demand and positive growth in the centre's catchment area. We are pleased to be bringing cinemas back to New Lynn after a 14-year absence," Gudgeon said.
Kiwi's statement said resource consent had been obtained and construction was due to begin in January with completion targeted for November.
"Since acquiring the centre in 2010 for $174 million, the trust will have invested a further $45 million (including this latest $36 million project), bringing its total investment in the centre to $219 million. The projected value of the centre on completion of this latest value-adding development is expected to be $262 million, with a projected incremental income yield on cost of approximately 7 per cent," Kiwi's statement released to the NZX said.
Readings operates eight cinemas in New Zealand, four in each island: Wellington, Napier, Porirua and Rotorua in the north and Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown and The Palms in Christchurch.
Derek Battersby, a member of the Whau Local Board, was delighted and said the announcement was a huge shot in the arm for the area.
"The day that Westfield pulled the cinema out of New Lynn and took it to Henderson was the day I got endless phone calls from ratepayers, how disappointed they were. It's something that has always been high up on our local community's hit list. This will be great news for the Whau community and the wider west Auckland generally. It's a win-win for the ratepayers and the business community," he said.
"New Lynn will became the entertainment hub of the west. This will give it a huge community boost. New Lynn is hot right now because of the forward thinking and vision of the Waitakere City Council in promoting it as a transport hub. It's going to get hotter now. It's bringing economic prosperity to New Lynn. There's a rumour going around of a new 18-storey high-rise," he said, although he could not confirm that.
See the location of Auckland's LynMall shopping centre here: