Eighty new shops, restaurants and cafes in the once-drab, almost deserted Victoria Park Market are about to open after a $20 million renovation.

Mark Stevens of Barfoot & Thompson Commercial said yesterday that 35 tenants had leased 40 shops and this weekend the agency would start a campaign to sell freehold titles to 27 properties in the historic brick market opposite the central Auckland park.

Stevens said about 7500 people lived and 8000 worked within a few blocks of the markets, which had undergone a huge transformation.

They included staff at Vodafone on Fanshawe St, Telecom on Victoria St, Air New Zealand towards the Westhaven end of Fanshawe St, Manson's new office block opposite Telecom, and new commercial premises rising behind the old Birdcage or Rob Roy Hotel, where more than 1000 people would work.


The refurbishment had changed the markets into a village-style precinct.

"We've got convenience shops, hairdressing salons and a bakery," he said.

"All the buildings have brand new roofs, the bricks have been restored and the old buildings have been brought back to life." Retailers selling arts and crafts and souvenirs were among other new tenants.

"About 70 per cent of the shops will be open from November to mid-December."

The market's website says 40 shops, including five new restaurants, will be opened by the end of next month.

"When the next stage is completed by about March next year another 40 new shops, boutiques, restaurants and cafes will complete the new-look Victoria Park Market," which the website says is owned by the consortium Victoria Quarter Trust and renovated by CMP Construction.

The market has had a troubled history, including anger from tenants after their numbers declined and then former owner David Henderson was declared bankrupt.

The numbers
* 80 new shops, cafes and restaurants
* $20m for the renovation
* 70pc of the shops will open between November and mid-December
* 8000 people work within a few blocks of the markets
* 7500 people live within a few blocks.