Keeping it local

Changes in work habits, the rise of new residential communities and a fresh appreciation for our local neighbourhoods, are underscoring the importance and relevance of suburban retail hubs.

Subscribe to receive our editorial and insights

Keeping it local

The corner dairy has been a mainstay of New Zealand neighbourhoods seemingly forever and, while shoppers’ loyalties are being pulled in myriad directions today, the concept of “shopping local” has been brought home to us all thanks, in part, to the pandemic environment.

Chris Beasleigh, Bayleys national director retail sales and leasing, said changes to how and where people work, and the extended time we have all been spending at home, has heightened the appeal of established neighbourhood and suburban shopping centres and new-to-market retail/mixed-use developments.

“With a forced work-from-home directive during the height of lockdowns and the subsequent normalisation of a hybrid way of working, local shops and service retailers are very much in favour as people establish closer ties with their communities.”

Population growth and the escalation of new, master-planned mixed-use residential/commercial precincts is also shining a light on the “one-stop” live, work, play model and purpose-built retail hubs.

Talking Shop checks in at the checkout with some of the industry’s movers and shakers.

A whole new community

On March 25, Todd Property Group officially opened the doors to Ormiston Town Centre which lies at the heart of one of Auckland’s most comprehensively-planned new suburbs.

Todd Property Group partnered with Panuku Development Auckland on the $250 million-plus Ormiston Town Centre project, which is part of a wider 19-hectare development around Ormiston Road in south-east Auckland – an area with a rapidly-growing population.

“When opening Ormiston Town Centre, we had a solid foundation to build on as Ormiston was a one-of-a-kind, existing community waiting for much-needed, everyday conveniences and service offerings.

“The Centre has grocery stores, gyms, health and beauty services, retail, and department stores and when teamed with our strong food and beverage offering centred in The Eatery space, we’re confident in the blueprint we’ve created for a successful, evolving community and mixed-use/retail centre.”

“While our objective first and foremost was to provide a heart and a centre for the primary catchment of Ormiston and Flat Bush, we knew that it would also become a local retail and lifestyle experience for the surrounding residential suburbs of Whitford, East Tamaki Heights, Clover Park and Totara Heights.”

“We have established important relationships with our anchor tenants, the first being PAK’nSAVE which has been with us since 2015 when we kicked off Phase 1 of the development, and our other large format tenants - New World, The Warehouse, Noel Leeming and HOYTS – with highly anticipated retail and entertainment offerings, servicing the needs of the Ormiston demographic.”

Convenience and good design

Woolworths New Zealand’s acting general manager format, development and property, Matthew Grainger, said it continues to seek out potential sites for Countdown supermarket developments and looks to identified population growth nodes where other retail and service providers will also want to have a presence.

Two new developments anchored by a Countdown supermarket are those in Waiata Shores in Takanini, and Richmond in the Nelson/Tasman region.

Waiata Shores is an evolving master-planned community facilitated by Fletcher Residential, and Grainger said Countdown Waiata Shores will be sited within an A-grade development due for completion early-2022.

“Countdown Richmond which opened in June 2021, is located within a retail development on the corner of Champion and Salisbury Roads, servicing a large existing population within these communities and anticipated new residential growth areas.”

Grainger said convenience has always been an important factor for supermarket customers, and this trend looks set to continue as people lead increasingly busy lives.

“Supermarket customers have a range of different shopping missions, from a big weekly shop, to a mid-week top-up, to a bite to eat on the go, so for this reason, we have a range of different store types and locations to suit different customer needs.

“These range from larger stores in regional shopping centres, freestanding stores on main transport routes, supermarkets within neighbourhood shopping centres, inner-city Metro stores and online-only e-Stores.”

Believing it can contribute positively to the look and feel of a neighbourhood or community, Grainger explained that the design of each development varies according to its location.

“For Countdown Waiata Shores, an artist selected by local iwi has been commissioned to design a large-scale artwork along one wall of the building, to tell an ancestral story about the local area.”

Reducing its environmental footprint is also important said Grainger, with Countdown Richmond being the first Green Star-rated supermarket in New Zealand.

“It incorporates a number of sustainable design features, including solar energy, electric vehicle charging stations, rainwater holding tanks and the most up-to-date refrigeration systems with waste heat recovery.

To the point

In the Auckland city fringe suburb of Pt. Chevalier, a new neighbourhood retail property has resonated with businesses looking to cement a presence in this popular residential area.

Developed by Frontier Properties, which has an established reputation for creating functional retail hubs around Auckland, the Pt. Chevalier offering made perfect sense to the proactive development company.

Director of Frontier Properties, Dean Whimp, said the previously under-utilised high-profile corner site was a real gem in the suburb which had seen little to no investment in its retail property stock for decades and clearly needed new amenity to service the growing population.

“This is an historic neighbourhood precinct which is slowly being regenerated and, having been involved in numerous suburban retail projects over the last 10 years, we have a very good understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

“We have secured a good mix of tenants including Flex Fitness Gym, which occupies the entire first floor, and its early commitment to the site helped to attract other tenants that saw a synergy with that business.

Whimp says the power of neighbourhood retail and service hubs cannot be underestimated – particularly post-COVID where people have reassessed their working habits and are opting to take a hybrid approach, spending more time working from home.

South Canterbury gets new retail hub

Sometimes, new retail developments pre-empt expected residential expansion and serve to help keep consumer dollars in the local economy.

About to come out of the ground is a new retail development within a master-planned 12-hectare project around six kilometres from Timaru’s established CBD, on the site of the former Timaru A&P Showgrounds.

Developer Tony Gapes of Auckland-based Redwood Group, one of the largest private real estate developers in New Zealand, said he sees the retail park as important to the Timaru economy.

“Traditionally, those living in the Timaru District have had to travel some distance to access major brands and large format retail offerings, so bringing those big players to the new site at The Showgrounds development will mean shopper dollars will stay local.

The Showgrounds retail precinct has already secured anchor tenants Bunnings and Countdown, along with national party supplies business Look Sharp, and Christchurch-based Black and White Coffee Cartel – New Zealand’s first micro-roasting coffee franchise.

Read more market insights from Workplace

Subscribe to receive the latest commercial news and insights from Bayleys Workplace