The $790 million redevelopment of Westfield Newmarket is by far the largest scheme of its type in New Zealand, bringing the biggest new shopping centre to the single wealthiest residential enclave in the country.
The mega-mall now nearing completion by Australasia giant shopping centre owner Scentre Group will see 230 new shops open across many levels, replacing the outdated, inward-facing mall which has traded on the site for decades.
WHO WILL VISIT?
The new centre is directly aimed at 530,000 people in the immediate vicinities, residents in the trade area with a total annual estimated retail spend of $8.87 billion. The good folk of Remuera, Epsom, Parnell, Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, the CBD, Ellerslie, Mt Roskill, St Johns, Mission Bay, St Heliers and beyond are the immediate aim but this is designed to draw people from the Shore, Tauranga, Hamilton and far beyond.
For those not on public transport, 2800 new carparks will be on offer across many covered levels, with access points to the cavernous parking halls from surrounding streets.
Scentre gets more than 5 million shopper visits annually at its other malls and the reason this is Australasia's largest retail development for that business is due to the previously untapped potential of the area.
Expect dramatic entrance ways, soaring facades, glass double-level over-bridges and a dramatic, glittering temple to retail and leisure activity.
The main street frontages of the sites are 277 Broadway and 309 Broadway but the land contains many titles, spreading all the way back to the historic neighbouring Highwic and Gillies Ave, towards the motorway.
The two sites will be linked via a two-level air-bridge over Mortimer Pass and if you've been to any of the mega-Australian malls which run over surrounding street networks, you'll know of the seamless links these make above roads below.
This is retail construction on a scale rarely seen in this country, with 81,584cu m of earth and rock dug from the site, excavation equivalent to creating about 33 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Structural steel weight in the many new buildings is 7100 tonnes, or about 12 times the amount used in the Sky Tower and precisely 186,766sq m of concrete floor area has been laid, about 13 times the area of Eden Park.
Five levels of retail are now nearly finished, as the tower cranes swing on the site, highly visible from the Southern Motorway.
WHY WOULD I GO?
Hand's free shopping, valet parking, shops not found elsewhere, new labels, a dedicated Uber pickup area, free carparking and a styling suite are drawcards.
The Australians are aiming to take Kiwi retailing to a whole new level.
Hands-free shopping is where your parcels are collected by a concierge and put in your car for you when you're ready to leave. The upmarket Westfield Bondi Junction gets shoppers to register for a pass which they then quote to the retailer, sparking a customer service rep into action to take shopping to your vehicle. It could cost more than $10. Still, no bags to lug about.
WHAT WILL BE THERE?
Auckland's first David Jones department store from Australia - following its arrival into Wellington's ex-Kirkcaldie & Stains - has leased 8000sq m in 277 Broadway at the Gillies Ave end. Shoppers entering off Broadway will walk past about 20 speciality stores before they get to the department store.
Other anchors are a new format 10,000sq m two-level Farmers department store, Countdown supermarket, 230 new speciality stores and a new multiplex Event Cinemas with the luxury gold class offering.
Shops never seen in this country will open but whether New Zealand's first Apple retail outlet will arrive remains a mystery.
Bohemian-style Australian-headquartered international design boutique chain Camilla, worn by Richie McCaw's wife Gemma Flynn, is said to be coming.
Kaftan-style glam resort label Zimmermann is rumoured. Katie Holmes and Heidi Klum wear this label by Sydney sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann.
No official announcements have yet been made about any of these brands.
But "premium fashion" and "aspirational fashion" is listed on floor plans along with valet parking, fresh food market, cafe court, an urban youth zone and as the year unfolds, expect a string of announcements and major media hype of the Ikea meatballs variety.
ROOFTOP ON BROADWAY
The height, heft and expanse of buildings offer ample opportunity to take advantage of the rooftop. Internationally, shopping centres have created attractive, expansive outdoor dining areas and a restaurant quality to challenge main street. Newmarket is no exception.
Rooftop on Broadway at 309 Broadway has been designed for big vistas across Newmarket to Remuera, Epsom, the CBD and beyond.
Level four is dining beside cinema entrances and exits and level 5 is all dining and entertainment, heavily landscaped with magical lighting, maybe water features, extensive decorations and themes.
White + Wong's have leased space which Scentre says "will feature a sit-down restaurant for over 450 customers and a Sardine Cocktail Bar, for a casual catch-up over a drink".
That will make it White + Wong's third outlet, after the Viaduct Harbour and Queenstown.
More than 30 restaurants, bars and dining outlets are planned.
WHY DID THEY BUILD IT?
Sheer untapped shopping spending, entertainment and retail potential, is the answer.
"When compared to other iconic centres in the Westfield portfolio, the Westfield Newmarket total trade area can draw comparisons with Bondi Junction in Sydney and Doncaster in Melbourne," Scentre says.
• 81,584cu metres of earth and rock dug from the site, excavation equivalent to creating about 33 Olympic-sized swimming pools;
• Structural steel weight is 7100 tonnes, or about 12 times the amount used in the Sky Tower;
• 186,766sq m of concrete floor area laid, about 13 times the area of Eden Park.