Precinct Properties' $1 billion Commercial Bay shopping and commercial complex under development in downtown Auckland will open its doors in September, unveiling 120 brand new retailers - of which, a handful are new market entrants.
Around 40 of the 120 shops will be restaurants and dining outlets, half will be fashion, and seven retailers will be dedicated to health and beauty and service-based amenities such as a hair salon.
Stage one of opening is the three-level retail complex, followed by the commercial office tower in December. The InterContinental Hotel will open in 2022.
When the entire complex is open next year it will include access to offices, underground railway tunnels and eventually connect the hotel with the shopping complex. It is expected to attract 10 million visitors each year.
The shops set to open in Commercial Bay will be a varied mix of international retail giants and smaller New Zealand brands.
Precinct Properties chief executive Scott Pritchard said the shopping precinct was designed to be open air and replicate the lane ways Melbourne is renowned for.
The complex is currently around 85 per cent filled with retail tenants, he said. It is expected to be full by opening.
Here's a look at what shops will open in Commercial Bay.
Dior Perfumes and Beauty
Christian Dior, commonly known as Dior, is spending $1 million opening its first New Zealand store in Commercial Bay.
The namesake luxury retailer's store, dedicated to cosmetics and fragrances, will take on mainstream Australian makeup brand Mecca which will also have a large store in the complex.
The Dior Perfumes and Beauty flagship boutique will be located on the ground level and around 82 sq m in size. It will employ eight staff.
Currently, products from the brand are sold in New Zealand through department stores such as Smith & Caughey, Ballantyne's and Life Pharmacies. The retail expansion comes as Dior moves away from its traditional distribution model.
"We've been thinking long and hard about opening a store in New Zealand, we were just waiting for the right opportunity," Mathieu Sampson, general manager for Dior Perfumes in New Zealand and Australia, said.
Dior has four standalone stores in Australia and is in the process of expanding its store footprint, opening four more this year.
"It is very different when you are the destination as a brand as opposed to being one of many brands within a shopping environment."
Sampson says the store will be service-orientated with make up and skin care consultation services. The Commercial Bay store will be the first of a handful to roll out across the country.
Mecca will also take a large space in the complex, located on the Queen Street side close to H&M. High-end cosmetics company L'Occitane will also open a store.
"I think people will be really surprised and excited for the Dior store, especially when you combo that with Mecca," Michael Sweetman, Precinct Properties retail development manager, said.
"The cosmetic category is one that is growing a huge amount in New Zealand, it is also because we've had an absence of department stores, historically - we've never had a Myer or a David Jones. We have Smith & Caughey and Farmers but we haven't had those big chains so individual cosmetic stores are doing very well."
Sandro & Maje
Fashion labels Sandro & Maje, which specialise in clothing and apparel, are each making a New Zealand debut in the complex and will be located in the specialty strip which sits in the east-west lane way.
The French brands, owned by SMCP Group, have been well received in the Australian market and are now considered one of its most-loved brands.
A SMCP Group spokesman said the company was excited to open its first New Zealand store in the country: "Commercial Bay presents a fantastic opportunity to launch Sandro & Maje to the New Zealand market. Surrounded by other fashion forward brands, we're excited to be a part of this new and dynamic fashion precinct."
Sweetman said new market entrants would be a drawcard for Auckland shoppers.
"Sandro and Maje brands are going to be very exciting for Auckland - it's new to market, and I think the aesthetic will be welcomed," Pritchard said. "Anything that's new to market, point of difference, is great for Commercial Bay and great for the CBD."
Kate Spade will open its second New Zealand store in Commercial Bay, following its flagship opened in Auckland International Airport's departures terminal.
The luxury handbag and accessory brand founded by American namesake designer in 1993 and has a large following with consumers overseas.
Fashion house Hugo Boss will relocate from Queen Street into the complex in to a two-storey flagship store. It will be located on the Queen St side of the site, close by to Swedish clothing retailer H&M which is already open and trading.
There are two other major retailers set to open on the Queen St strip of the complex which have not yet been announced.
"The retailers positioned on Queen Street , taking more bigger spaces, they are what we describes as mini major stores," Pritchard says.
On the corner of Customs St over looking the harbour, Spark will open a three-storey store at the bottom of the 40-level commercial office tower.
Furla, another luxury hand bag brand which also has a store at Auckland Airport, will open a store in the complex, along with luggage retailer Hershel Supply Co.
The Furla store will be located on the Queen Street side of the complex, will be the hand bag and accessory brand's second New Zealand store, after opening its first at Auckland Airport late last year.
Auckland Airport head of retail Richard Barker last month said a number of the luxury brands recently opened at the airport would roll out to the high street, meaning Michael Kors or Maxmara - two brands that don't have an Auckland CBD presence - could open up shop in Commercial Bay.
New Zealand brands
New Zealand brands Federation, 3 Wise Men and Barkers are set to open shops.
Footwear company Wittner is brand new to the Auckland market, already having a small store on Victoria Street in Wellington, along with premium casual footwear brand Solect and footwear brand Scarpa.
Other retailers which have already been announced they will open stores in Commercial Bay are Rodd & Gunn, Superette and Just Another Fisherman.
Hair salon Loxy's which specialises in hair extensions is also opening a Commercial Bay salon. Loxy spokesperson Kate Jarrett said the harbour-side location would create a great environment for its second Auckland salon and would enable it to widen its clientele base.
The Commercial Bay site was once home to a small Westfield mall which attracted seven million visitors each year. Given the size and international presence of the site, Pritchard said the new complex would receive more than 10 million each year.
Dining and restaurants
Food and dining options will be located on the top floor of the complex. There will be a food court-like offering on the top level with harbour views called Harbour Eats, with 40 different operators ranging from Malaysian to European food. The offerings are designed to change often.
Restaurants in the precinct include acclaimed New York restaurant Saxon & Parole, Ghost Donkey which specialises in Mexican cuisine, Mimi Gilmour's Burger Burger, Hawker and Roll, Simon and Lee and London cocktail bar called Genuine Liquorette.
Restaurateur Al Brown will open a restaurant in the precinct, and more eateries and restaurants are set to be announced later this month.
"Commercial Bay is about offering something that is leveraging the city but is really unique," Pritchard says.
Taking the area's name from the 1840s when it was the centre of Auckland's trade, Commercial Bay is set to be a game-changing destination.
The centre designs and architecture took inspiration from the lane ways in Melbourne, Munich, Tokyo, parts of San Francisco and London.
"Success for us looks like a tourist or an Aucklander meandering along and finding themselves in the middle of Commercial Bay."