The launch of Auckland's upmarket Queen's Rise dining precinct highlights strong demand for quality food and beverage offerings, according to Colliers International's retail experts.
The new CBD dining precinct — nestled behind the historic façade of 125 Queen St, at the base of the newly refurbished QBE Centre — has been packed with diners every day since opening last month.
Queen's Rise offers 11 distinct dining options, from poke bowls and pizza through to mezze platters and fresh oysters; their edgy setting combining heritage character with industrial chic.
Leasing agents Nilesh Patel and Chloe Franklin-Hall of Colliers' retail team, carefully curated the sophisticated mix of eateries with Queen's Rise developer, Winton Partners.
Patel says the dining precinct was fully leased months before its launch.
"We knew there was an appetite for a casual yet refined dining venue in Auckland's CBD, so we're not surprised it has taken off," he says.
"The success of Queen's Rise really underscores the ongoing trend towards retail environments offering customer experiences that can't be replicated online.
"People still want to get out of the house, grab a bite to eat, meet friends, and have a drink. Because of this, the food and beverage sector is experiencing strong growth."
Patel says Queen's Rise is a true all-day destination, offering everything from convenient morning coffees through to the unhurried indulgence of an after-show dinner.
"Individuals or groups can order from one or more eateries, making for a 'mix and match' experience that is sure to delight even the most discerning diners."
Tenants include tapas eatery Ottoman Mezze Bar; contemporary cuisine offering Lowbrow; oyster bar Grace; Dante's Pizzeria; dumpling restaurant Panda; Poke Bar; superfood bar Nourish Pod; loaded potato eatery Potato & Me; gourmet chicken and sandwich deli Dolly Bird; Japanese donburi outlet Tokyo Loco Bowl; and salad and soup serving Jar Story.
Franklin-Hall says the new dining precinct is easily accessible via escalators leading up from the historic colonnaded facade on Queen St.
There is also street level access via Swanson St which runs along the northern end of Queen's Rise.
"The high-end fit-out includes mosaic tiling, brass detailing, pressed tin ceilings, feature lighting, exposed structures and raw materials," Franklin-Hall says.
Shared seating, including a number of outdoor tables, allows for flexible dining.
Duncan Elley of developer, Winton, says it's "an ideal location on Auckland's premier shopping boulevard.
"Queen St has high-end shops, theatres, art galleries, and dynamic city centre attractions, and is within walking distance of major hotels, office towers and educational institutions. All of this makes Queen's Rise perfectly positioned to ensure retail success," says Elley.
Patel says lower and mid-Queen St have been undergoing a renaissance in recent times and this is set to continue under the Council's City Centre Master Plan. "Queen St attracts nine million pedestrians a year, including residents, workers and tourists," he points out.
"About 90,000 people work in the CBD, giving Queen's Rise exposure to about 33,000 workers every week day.
"This includes a captive audience of 1700 staff working onsite in the newly refurbished QBE Centre."
Franklin-Hall says 249,000 cruise ship passengers visit central Auckland every year and the city attracts some 12,000 tourists every day.
A significant and growing population of 24,000 residents live in the city centre, while around 60,000 tertiary students attend nearby universities and tertiary providers.
Auckland had a 17.6 per cent growth in spending year-on-year, compared with 4.3 per cent for competing areas.
"This dynamic new dining precinct is superbly positioned to capitalise on all this growth," Elley says.