If you’re a jafa, you may have noticed while commuting to and from the west that rush hour traffic is particularly bad, even for Auckland. It turns out the disruption is for a good cause, as what’s been described as New Zealand’s largest urban renewal project is underway. This involves several retail developments, including the monstrous-sized NorthWest shopping mall.
The west is set to become a new hub for all things retail, thanks to a huge revamp of the region.
The Western Ring motorway route currently being completed will connect the west more directly to the southern parts of Auckland, as well as Auckland Airport.
Henderson, Westgate and New Lynn are also assigned as metropolitan centres in the Auckland Unitary Plan, but the main areas that will boost the areas growth are Westgate and Hobsonville thanks to two significant retail developments.
Out west to become a shopping haven
An artist’s impression of Westgate town centre
A 56 hectare Westgate town centre is being developed that will sit in the link between the Northwestern and Upper Harbour motorways.
The idea of a new town centre came about as a way to accommodate the massive projected population growth in the west.
The centre will be 2km in length from each end and is being planned by NZ Retail Property Group, in collaboration with Auckland Council.
Former Waitakere City councillor and current Auckland Council deputy mayor Penny Hulse says the council was disheartened when it found 70 percent of west Aucklanders had to go outside of the area to work.
“That was the main driver in our decision to create a new regional town centre at Westgate,” Hulse says.
“To see that vision now taking place and local jobs on offer is incredibly good news for the west.”
The centre has three anchor tenants that are already open – a Mitre 10 Mega store, a Palmers Planet store and a Pak’n Save supermarket.
Building has also begun on a large retail complex, which has Harvey Norman, Briscoes and Rebel Sports on board.
All but one of the spaces so far have been leased.
NZRPG general manager of commercial, Campbell Barbour, says the town centre has been meticulously well planned.
“In contrast to most other towns in New Zealand, the Westgate town centre will be entirely purpose built. It is not an expanding town – it is a genuinely planned, well organised new town,” Barbour says.
“Some of the detractors have not grasped that the council’s investment is not to deliver a new shopping centre, but a new metropolitan centre, which will be the economic hub for Auckland’s northwest, serving a fast growing population that will eventually be similar in size to Tauranga or Dunedin.”
A mammoth addition to Auckland’s shopping scene
An artist’s impression of Northwest shopping centre
Not too far away from the Westgate Town Centre is the gigantic 27,000 square metre NorthWest Shopping Centre.
What the front entrance to the mall looks like at the moment. Source / Facebook
The development is a $160 million venture by DNZ Property and will open for business in October.
It’s anchored by a Countdown supermarket and a Farmers department store at either end.
The Farmers store will be one of the biggest in the country, at 8000 square metres.
According to the NZ Herald, Pascoes; Whitcoulls; Hartleys Fashion; The Majestic Tea Bar; Jeanwest; Glassons; Barkers; The Body Shop and Wallace Cotton are some of the confirmed stores.
DNZ said in its last market announcement that all but two retail spaces are leased out of its 100 shops.
There is also a further 7000 square metres of retail, food and beverage and office space going in across the road from the mall, which will link up to the public town square.
Hobsonsville Point shopping is also set to expand and improve.
The former air base currently has a $3 billion redevelopment underway, with up to 3000 to 5000 homes going in, plus a retirement village.
To support a growing population that is estimated to reach over 8000, its services have had to improve – including shopping.
A new range of community retail shops was completed this year and a new retail development is underway on Hobsonville Rd.
Countdown and New World supermarkets will anchor it, with strip retailing between the two.
The next stage of development for Hobsonville Point is The Landing, a 1.8 hectare section of waterfront land that will become a mix of commercial and social.
It will include residential properties, retail and hospitality properties, office and community uses, as well as a proposed marina.