Five years since it was announced, a New Zealand's mega-tower is about to be finished and open shops, restaurants, bars and commercial space.
Final touches are going on the country's much-delayed tallest new office block and largest inner-city mall: the $1b 40-level PwC Tower on the city's waterfront in the new Commercial Bay.
First announced on December 11, 2015 as a meagre $681m project, shareholders were told back then: "The Commercial Bay retail centre is expected to open by October 2018, with the office tower completed in mid-2019," Precinct Properties told the NZX.
Now, parts of the building are planned to be open to the public in just two months: by March, retail components of the giant will be open with about 120 new shops spread across 18,000sq m, with the designer Harbour Eats opening a number of new food outlets.
• Precinct Properties eyes new developments after Commercial Bay
• $1b Commercial Bay delayed even further: no shops, offices till next year
• Tenant ghosts Precinct Properties after quitting Commercial Bay lease
• $1b Commercial Bay revalued; Precinct portfolio now stands at $2.8b
Around 100 retail outlets will open "with a split of around 30 per cent for major retailers, 45 per cent for speciality retail and 25 per cent for food and beverage".
H&M has been trading from there since August 2018 but the Italian Furla, the upmarket Christian Dior, New Zealand's Rodd and Gunn, Hershel Supply Co, Superette, Tommy Hilfiger, and Dutch fashion outlet Scotch & Soda, twenty-seven names, Storm, Ice Breaker, Kookai, The Gentry, Skintopia, Lovely by Skin Institute, The Art of Nails, Harker Herbals and Shampoo 'n' Things and many more others will soon open for trading.
Then, it's the high-rise office floors' turn: 2020's biggest corporate relocation begins when thousands of tenants start the huge job of relocating from other areas of the city.
"It's looking great on-site – lots of activity," said a spokesperson for owner NZX listed Precinct Properties this month, telling how media would soon be invited. Tours were about to be organised, she said.
Physical work on the site started with the demolition of the old Downtown Shopping Centre around June 2016. Precinct bought the Downtown site for $91.3m and by late 2015 had spent around $16.3m in design and consultancy fees.
The Auckland suburb with the most cinema theatre seats
It is forecast that it would spend a further $573.4m to complete the development.
Then, New Zealand's construction boom got in the way and late delivery times were revealed as well as penalties imposed against Fletcher Construction.
Last February, the Herald reported how $15.4m was the total withheld by Precinct on the tower for delays and it occurred in the half-year period to December 31, 2018 - the first time such liquidated damages had appeared on Precinct's accounts.
SkyCity Entertainment Group said early last year it had withheld $39.5m from Fletcher Construction because the convention centre was so late.
A number of office tenants have leased the tower. Naming rights have gone to PwC which will lease space along with Chapman Tripp, MinterEllisonRuddWatts, DLA Piper and Regus.
PwC already leases the neighbouring Quay St building which Precinct owns and has naming rights.
MinterEllison is not a Precinct tenant. That business is in the Lumley Centre on Shortland St.
DLA Piper is on level 22 of 205 Queen St.
Chapman Tripp is already in Precinct's ANZ Centre on the Albert St/Swanson St corner.
HSBC is leaving its 1 Queen St address in premises also owned by Precinct to occupy a number of floors on a 10-year lease.
Alvarium Investments is taking a top position in the building, going on level 37 when the tower is finished.
This month, the Herald reported how one tenant had ghosted Precinct for the top levels.
Precinct wants to liquidate a company which signed a deal to rent the top two floors. A court judgment out late last year reveals Golden Tower NZ, which told Precinct in November 2017 it no longer wanted to rent the top two floors of the new development, abandoned its offices and had not responded to court action by the building owner.
Golden Tower is owned by Kawo Chan of Mount Roskill, Companies Office records indicate, and its sole director is Hongwen Song. In 2016 it had purchased the NZAX listing of mobile payments minnow Lateral Corp and said it wanted to grow its property portfolio.
Precinct wants payment from the company of $379,000 for legal and leasing fees relating to the failed deal.