I walked around Commercial Bay until my legs were sore.

What that says about my stamina I'm not sure, but it's a testament to the sheer size of the $1 billion precinct packed into the Queen St building.

Around 120 retailers will pack out stores in the 18,000m sq shopping centre and the newest focal point of Auckland's waterfront was bustling with people today.

Punters take a trip through Commercial Bay on its first day of opening yesterday. Photo / Alex Burton
Punters take a trip through Commercial Bay on its first day of opening yesterday. Photo / Alex Burton

Just about anything one could hope to buy can be found there, from coffee to shampoo to travel suitcases and you can even grab yourself a haircut.

Advertisement

Not to mention the massive food court which boasts more than 20 vendors.

Lucky for me, and those of you with a family member who shops until they drop, there were plenty of areas to sit down to twiddle your thumbs or take a quick breather.

Commercial Bay was located over three different levels. Photo / Alex Burton
Commercial Bay was located over three different levels. Photo / Alex Burton

Retailers were flat out around lunchtime on Friday, packed out with customers on only the second day since the precinct opened.

It was exciting to see so many people shopping, buying food and even just walking around for a look, storekeepers said.

Subscribe to Premium

Just as well there was no need to maintain social distancing too - one's bubble burst within minutes due to the number of people there.

A man waiting in one of the aisles while his wife browsed items in a nearby store said the pair decided to visit Commercial Bay on their day off.

Working in retail themselves, it was their first day off in a very long time and the man was very impressed by what he saw.

"I think it ticks all of the boxes," the man said. He thought it added a sparkle back to Auckland CBD and gave people a reason head back into town.

Advertisement

It was surprising, though, to see so many people in the mall shopping, he said.

The man's wife reiterated his comments and said the difference was stark between Commercial Bay and nearby Queen St, which was unlively.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the opening of Commercial Bay. Photo / Alex Burton
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the opening of Commercial Bay. Photo / Alex Burton

Earlier this week, Queen St retailers thought lacklustre business could be pinpointed to many people still working from home - that and there were no tourists about.

Elsewhere, two men who were loitering about while their wives shopped were unimpressed by the quality of finish.

Sure, there were blemishes on the floor and the odd wire poking out of the wall but overall the experience was great.

Businesses on nearby Queen St were very quiet. Photo / Dean Purcell
Businesses on nearby Queen St were very quiet. Photo / Dean Purcell

But the men admitted Commercial Bay's owners and its retailers would have been very keen and eager to get up and running after the move to alert level 1.

Located at the base of the new PwC Tower, Commercial Bay was made up of eight separate buildings connected by bridges and open-air laneways.

READ MORE:
Covid 19: Lockdown pulls retail spend to record-low territory
Covid 19: More than 6000 businesses at risk of closing - report
Under pressure retail staff helped by new well-being app
Covid 19: Sales figures show 'carnage' in retail sector during level 3 lockdown

Sprawled over three levels, the ground floor and level one were mostly home to fashion retailers, cafes and restaurants.

The food court and beauty services like a hairdresser and a nail bar were located on level two.

There are a number of food vendors in the precinct. Phot / Alex Burton
There are a number of food vendors in the precinct. Phot / Alex Burton

Stairs, ramps, escalators, elevators and wide laneways make accessing the different levels and traversing the aisles very easy.

Located in the CBD a jump, skip and a hop from Auckland's waterfront, Commercial Bay was also just a few minutes' walk from Britomart.

Commercial Bay's opening followed a report published earlier this month which found up to 6700 retailers were at risk of closure for the rest of 2020.

The report looked into the state of the retail sector and also estimated up to 17,100 retailers could shut up shop for good as a result of Covid-19.