When the clock strikes 9am tomorrow, about 1000 employees will be ready for the opening of stage two of Tauranga's newest mega-mall.
Tauranga Crossing will be opening its doors to 45 new stores, 17 new dining options and an 800-seat cinema in stage two of the $150 million development.
Staff have been busy putting the final touches on their stores - windows were being cleaned, stock unpacked, the floors vacuumed and signs unveiled when the Bay of Plenty Times walked through the large corridors yesterday.
Tauranga Crossing chief executive Steve Lewis said as of Thursday about 1000 people were now employed in retail, food and beverage jobs at the centre.
"That shows this centre is going to attract customers from a much broader part of the Bay of Plenty," he said. "That is going to be great for an already booming economy."
Lewis was excited to be officially opening stage two of the development.
"It is a huge moment for us. It is a combination of many years of planning and hard work from hundreds of people," he said.
On completion, the 47,000sq m shopping complex will house up to 70 fashion, general merchandise, and service retailers.
That includes global fashion retailer H&M, Decjuba, Pagani, Cotton On and Bras N Things.
The two-level centre galleria and dining area will include 29 restaurants and eateries including Hawker & Roll, Bird on a Wire and Ramen IPPIN.
The Event Cinemas in the entertainment precinct will feature an 800-seat cinema with Vmax screen, full recliner chairs and double daybeds.
Event Cinemas area manager Steve Kimi said the cinema included an electronic screen for movie-goers to book their tickets and select their type of seating.
"It is all digital," he said.
Cinema manager Justin Chaney expected the daybeds and recliners to be popular and were a way of bringing a new experience to movie watching at the cinema.
"It is all about your cinema, your way," he said. "We try to make sure it is accessible to everybody."
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the city's latest retail developments meant shoppers would be spoilt for choice "like never before".
"With the latest developments at this and other malls across town, we really are setting a high bar for retail and hospitality in our region," he said.
Gregec said the creation of 1000 jobs was "a fantastic boost to the region's employment numbers".
However, with the "explosion" of shopping malls, Gregec worried for the future of the CBD as the city expanded into its peripheral areas.
Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said "unprecedented" levels of job and business growth had underpinned the expansion of the retail sector and the attraction of new brands to the city.
Hill said developments combining retail, hospitality and entertainment demonstrated the growth and maturity of the city.
"The inclusion of cinemas and arcades draw more people into a retail area and cause them to stay longer and spend more," she said.
Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless welcomed the creation of 1000 jobs inside the mall.
"As the city grows, everything else does too, including retail, entertainment and dining opportunities," he said.
WELCOME TO TAURANGA H&M
Global fashion retailer H&M will open its first Tauranga store this week.
The doors to the multinational Swedish clothing-retail company, known for its affordable fashion, will open at Tauranga Crossing tomorrow.
Daniel Lattemann, the chain's country sales manager for New Zealand, said the new Tauranga store would be the fifth H&M store to open in the country.
"It is always exciting to be opening a new store," he said. "It is always good to see the customers lining up. Fashion should be fun."
Lattemann was pleased to be opening for the first time in Tauranga.
"When you look into the demographic you can see how quickly Tauranga is growing," he said.
Lattemann said the Tauranga H&M store would recruit about 50 people including store manager, department manager, visual merchandisers and sale advisors.
The whole store size was 1600sq m of men's, women's and children's fashion, not including the new home store.
What: Stage Two of Tauranga Crossing opening
When: Doors open 9am, live music and entertainment, giveaways and an official opening ceremony with Greg Brownless will begin in the centre carpark from 7am
- Investment in the mall project exceeds $150 million
Centre size on completion:
- 47,000sq m of trading lettable area
- 1800 across the whole complex from Thursday
Number of shops:
- More than 100 stores and eateries
Number of restaurants:
- 25 eateries across the whole complex
Number of jobs:
- An estimated 1000 people have been employed