One of the world's biggest clothing retailers has signed up for Auckland's new $681 million 39-level waterfront tower, Commercial Bay.

Scott Pritchard, Precinct Properties NZ chief executive, this morning told the NZX that H&M had leased space in the tower, about to rise on the Downtown shopping centre site between Lower Queen St and Lower Albert St. HSBC is moving into one of the existing buildings on the site.

On Saturday, the 70-store Downtown Mall shut to make way for construction of the new tower, which forms part of the wider Commercial Bay development.

"H&M and HSBC are both internationally recognised brands and we're delighted with their early commitment to Commercial Bay," said Pritchard.


"H&M is one of the fastest growing international fashion retailers and the choice of Commercial Bay highlights the resurgence of Queen Street as the heart of Auckland retailing.

"The flagship store will continue the regeneration of the lower Queen Street and Britomart precincts and puts Commercial Bay firmly on the fashion map of Auckland," he said.

H&M's early commitment two years' before the building is finished was indicative of the strong interest being received from retailers, Pritchard said. About 100 shops are expected to open by October, 2018.

He also welcomed the new office tenant, global finance giant HSBC.

"We are very pleased to see a company of HSBC's stature choose to remain in the Precinct portfolio in the Commercial Bay precinct on Auckland's waterfront," he said.

HSBC will move from a Queen Street address, also owned by Precinct. It is taking multiple levels on a 10-year lease in 188 Quay Street - the existing PwC building - to be known as HSBC Tower.

This morning, a ground breaking ceremony is being held for the $2.5 billion City Rail Link. Those tunnels will be built beneath Commercial Bay. Precinct is opening a deep pit to enable these works at the same time as Auckland Transport builds its new tunnels connecting the Britomart to a new underground train line up to Mt Eden.