In his speech opening The Brickworks, McVinnie gave his seal of approval to the new restaurants: “The restaurants all serve real food, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
Kiwi Property general manager of retail Karl Retief was present as part of the company’s executive team. People come to malls for more than just retail therapy, he says: “It’s an experience as well.”
He said he’d enjoyed hearing positive feedback about the new development from the public, sharing an anecdote about an 86-year-old woman who had come to The Brickworks’ opening from her home in a nearby apartment.
“She said, ‘This is going to be my playground now,’” Retief says.
Kiwi Property chief executive Chris Gudgeon told a crowd of around 100 people that The Brickworks had taken the company just 10 months to build after construction began in January. The majority of the design and development work for The Brickworks was done in-house.
The Brickworks’ site formerly housed a car park, but a Kiwi Property representative says no parks were lost in the development process. The site now contains seven new eateries, most of which are quality dining, sit-down restaurants which supplement LynnMall’s existing food court.
They are: Bodrum Kitchen; Cleaver & Co; Goode Brothers; Hansan; Meso; Shaky Isles and Wagamama.
The development and accompanying expansion of LynnMall cost more than $39 million. The complex has also benefited from investment by Reading Cinemas, which will open the first of its cinema outlets in Auckland later this month.
Gudgeon says west Auckland is increasingly connected to the central city, referring to New Lynn as “central west”: “West Auckland isn’t a field trip anymore."
He believes shoppers will travel from other parts of the city to dine at The Brickworks, comparing the “hip, contemporary” dining offering to those in areas like Kingsland, Ponsonby and the Wynyard Quarter.
Asked about the rumours of Zara’s arrival at Sylvia Park, Gudgeon had no comment. He spoke of the H&M store which will open there in late 2016, saying it was likely to add another incentive for shoppers to visit physical stores, and also praised the new Country Road store in Sylvia Park.
“When you walk in there, you just feel like spending money.”
Kiwi Property development manager Jo McDonald pointed out that shopping at bricks and mortar stores adds a certain ambiance that ecommerce can’t compete with.
“Over at Bodrum, everyone’s sitting there having a coffee in the sun,” she says. “You can’t get that on the internet.”