Tauranga shopping mall Bayfair has confirmed its long-rumoured expansion, revealing plans for a $100 million upgrade including 50 new shops and a seven-screen cinema complex.
The 30-year-old shopping centre, owned by AMP Capital, will grow by a third, with another 9000sq m of floor space taking the total size to 42,000sq m.
Centre manager Steve Ellingford said the plan was the culmination of more than 10 years of planning and buying up commercially-zoned land neighbouring the centre.
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Tauranga's growth meant this was the right time for the project.
"Tauranga is booming and Bayfair is growing alongside the city."
He said the development will bring more choices for shoppers, attract more "big city" retailers and create new job opportunities.
He would not say which brands they were talking to, but said Bayfair would create "the most compelling fashion, lifestyle and entertainment experience in the region".
Retailers were told on Wednesday and letters were going out to nearby residents last night.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the announcement would be a massive boost to Tauranga and the Mount in particular.
It was interesting to see big retail investment even with the spectre of massive online retailer Amazon looming over New Zealand.
"At a time when a lot of people are asking questions about the future of retailing, this makes an emphatic statement that retail is here to stay.
"AMP Capital have obviously done their homework and wouldn't be making this kind of investment if they didn't feel confident that Tauranga's rapidly growing population would support such a development."
Tiffany Green, who lives near Bayfair, said it was fantastic news.
"It will be great to have a bigger variety of stores at our doorstep. Bayfair is in need of some enhancements if it wants to keep up with the likes of Papamoa Plaza."
Papamoa resident Jenna Preest had a ready list of shops she would be keen to see in the expanded centre.
"I'm hoping for some more clothing shops - Kookai, Forever New, Cue, Country Road, Peter Alexander - as it's hard to get nice clothing at a decent price here. There are not many middle ground options.
"A Lush and a T2 would be great for a treat too."
Rumours of Bayfair's extension plans have been around for years, heating up in August when the company removed 16 of the 29 neighbouring houses it owned across Maunganui Rd and Harris, Carter and Farm Sts for an "infrastructure upgrade".
Shanan Miles, Tauranga City Council's acting manager for environmental planning, said the Bayfair extension had gone through the first stage of the resource consent process.
"The developer has come back to us and requested some changes. We're working through those with them right now."
The resource consent application was not publically notified.
Bayfair's extension plans
- Footprint expands by 9000sq m (42,000 total)
- 50 new stores (150 total) - Seven-screen, 3300sq m cinema complex - Alfresco dining precinct - New 3800sq m Countdown supermarket - 200 new carparks (1820 total)
Sources: Bayfair and TCC resource consent decision Timeline
- The expansion will happen in four stages
- Over two years - First stage opening late 2018 - Fourth and final stage opening late 2019
Source: Steve Ellingford, Bayfair manager