The big SugarTree Lane commercial and residential development, occupying an Auckland city block bounded by Union, Cook and Nelson Sts, has progressed to the point where tenants are being sought for retail units.

"With over 30 units ranging from 29sq to 450sq m there are plenty for retailers and hospitality businesses to select from," says Mark Wyness, retail project manager for SugarTree.

"Already the new Cookie Cafe has opened up along with the Spanish tapas bar Pepitos which is bringing a taste of Madrid to our new residents.

"We have also secured a top tier childcare operator to be licensed for 60 children with fit-out being undertaken now for occupation next year."


Wyness says SugarTree has been designed for community living - as a sophisticated urban village in a central city location - with retail tenancies on the ground level and apartments above. He says a feature of SugarTree Lane will be the boutique stores, bars, eateries and creative double-stud height retail and commercial spaces; along with a central courtyard walkway from Union St to Nelson St.

"It's designed to provide inner-city living within a city oasis - a multi-faceted development that brings together apartments, retail, entertainment and workspace; a place for people to live, work, play and relax, in the very heart of Auckland," Wyness says.

The three-stage, three-building development, at 25 Union St will encompass a total of 683 apartments to be filled by up to 2000 residents who will be captive customers for shops and service businesses within the complex. Cited lease rates for commercial space in SugarTree Lane range from $550 per sq m plus operating expenses (OPEX).

"Combined with other existing apartment developments in the immediate vicinity, its estimated SugarTree businesses will have a potential catchment of 7000 residents. And, when new large-scale developments are completed on Union, Hobson and Nelson Sts, there will be up to 8500 prospective shoppers and patrons within 300m of SugarTree Lane by the end of 2019," Wyness says. "That's a lot of ready-made, on-the-spot customers."

The first building Prima (stage one) is complete and occupied; while apartments in Centro (stage two) are also sold out with the building due to be opened next month. Construction is now underway on the 13-storey Altro (stage three) with only 15 per cent of its apartments still available for sale.

A feature of the Altro building will be its rooftop space designed for bars and restaurants.

Wyness says tenders are now being sought from the premier hospitality operators to occupy the roof unit areas of 387sq m, 218sq m or 169sq m.

"With expansive views across the city, capturing the sunsets in the west right round to the harbour bridge, Waitemata Harbour and the CBD, SugarTree rooftop dining and wining will be make an appealing addition to Auckland's premier nightspots. We envision the setting will be ideal for the likes of evening cocktails, exclusive parties and product launches. Access to the rooftop will be directly from SugarTree Lane bringing crowds past for early meals, late night snacks and drinks."


Wyness says SugarTree's commercial unit spaces have been designed to offer maximum flexibility for retailers, cafes, bars and service providers like medical establishments and gyms.

An artist's impression of SugarTree Lane courtyard with cafes and retail outlets. Photo / Supplied
An artist's impression of SugarTree Lane courtyard with cafes and retail outlets. Photo / Supplied

Retail space beneath the SugarTree apartments is envisaged as being ideal for a grocery business and also fitness and medical centres.

"There isn't a better location for a grocery business complete with loading area," Wyness says. "With no major supermarket within easy walking distance, residents in the area are crying out for a convenient and quality solution.

"Our tenant could be a trendy urban farmers' market, a mini-supermarket concept - or a concentrated version of something bigger. But with space of 139sq and up to 635sq m to play with - size isn't going be an issue.

"Likewise, with a fitness centre or a gymnasium, with thousands of resident prospects ready to become members of such a business - be it a spin class, boxing studio, yoga lounge or urban Pilates.

"The same goes for 24/7 pharmacy or healthcare centre, a handy dentist, optician, a chiropractor

or a sports massage clinic, which could occupy one of five spaces available starting with 77sq m or up to 936sq m for a bigger business opportunity."

Wyness says covenants will apply to all commercial premises to ensure top quality fit-outs are completed. "Signage and the presentation of frontages onto the lane will also be of an extremely high standard."

He says the SugarTree development "sits in a new golden triangle" between Ponsonby, Grey Lynn and Freeman's Bay - also flanking the Auckland CBD. "It's within easy walking and cycling distance to many of the city's main attractions - just minutes to the Sky City, Queen St and the waterfront. The University of Auckland and the city's many further education faculties are also within easy reach."

The SugarTree project is led by developers Wayne Allen, Darren Brown and The Lily Investment Group which has employed the services of Kalmar Construction, Babbage Consultants, Greenstone Group and WT Partnership.

Mark Wyness, SugarTree.
Mark Wyness, SugarTree.