Retailers and developers are sitting up and paying attention to West Auckland.
The western suburbs are now home to a rising number of affluent young professionals and urban families who want to shop, dine and be entertained close to home, and NZ Retail Property Group has them covered with Westgate.
Auckland’s explosive population growth is increasingly centred around the western suburbs.
NZ Retail Property Group’s GM marketing and communications Sara Johnson says 20 to 30 percent of this growth is happening around the Westgate Town Centre, with 41,400 new homes to be built within five to 10 minutes’ drive of the centre over the next 15 years.
Already, 650,000 people live within a 20-minute catchment of the centre, which sees 4.2 million visits per year. The upcoming opening of the Western Ring route is likely to increase this foot traffic further.
This growth has been recognised within the Auckland Council’s new Unitary Plan, which maps out the city’s development over the next 30 years. The Westgate Town Centre/ NorthWest shopping area has been designated as a ‘Metropolitan Centre’ under the plan, which means future commercial activity within the area will be encouraged by the council.
While a number of new developments are popping up in Westgate and its surrounding suburbs to take advantage of the area’s rising population, NZ Retail Property Group was there before the boom.
The development of Westgate was initiated in 1997 and remains unmatched for scale and complexity.
The Westgate Shopping Centre is a 56-hectare planned town environment. It includes streetbased retail and community services, parks, office blocks, specialty shops, large format retail and yard-based retail.
NZ Retail Property Group GM of revenue Paul Tanday explains that many shopping centres grow haphazardly as new sections are added, but Westgate has been town-planned from the start.
This means its precincts are grouped logically together, making it easy for customers seeking homewares, fashion or other segments to flit between several different stores selling
“If you wake up on a Saturday morning and you want to do something, you’ll go to that part of town,” says Tanday. Westgate is designed for convenience, he says: “Park, shop, leave.”
Asked what kinds of retailers Westgate is targeting for tenancy, Tanday says Westgate aims its focus wider than a traditional shopping centre.
“Because this is a town, we’re talking to everyone.”
Westgate can accommodate not just retailers of all kinds, but services more commonly found in towns and villages across New Zealand: fitness centres, mechanics, and more.
The centre is an ecosystem which supports customers in not just shopping, but daily life as well – its eateries feed the office workers based there, and punters flock to the bars and cinema after store hours end. Westgate also sports awardwinning green spaces.
“Every part you’d find in a town is who we are,” Tanday says. Retailers currently located within Westgate are signing on for 10-year leases based on future projections, says Sara Johnson.
“Retailers need to consider how rapidly the Auckland retail landscape is changing and make sure they’re part of it.”