Commercial Bay has announced its line-up of food and beverage operators for the downtown Auckland centre and everything from tequila bars to ethnic street food to fine dining, is on the menu.
Precinct Properties’ $1 billion shopping and commercial complex is set to open in September and will house 44 food and beverage operators, a mix of both international and homegrown vendors.
A Michelin-star chef will be housed in the precinct, along with acclaimed American restuarant Saxon + Parole, a flagship restaurant by New Zealand chef Ben Bayly, a handful of “millennial food truckers” and a Hawaiian-style poke bar by celebrity chef Sam Choy imported from North America.
London-based Genuine Liquorette and Mexican-inspired tequila and mezcal bar Ghost Donkey will each open a cocktail bar in Commercial Bay, along with another called The Lodge Bar by Matt Lambert.
A chocolate bar by Honest Chocolat will open in the site and a craft beer bar – whose operator has not been yet disclosed, will trade on the ground floor.
Other vendors include cafes, popular Middle Eastern eatery Fatima’s, Burger Burger, Malaysian fast-casual eatery Hawker and Roll and juice bar Cali Press.
Commercial Bay’s food hall concept Harbour Eats, located on the second level of the complex, will house around 27 operators including food truck brands Kai Eatery and Got Pasta, and will have up to 700 seats.
Precinct Properties senior development manager Tim Woods said food and beverage would make up around 30 per cent of retail tenants in the precinct.
The complex would be open late into the evenings to tap into Auckland’s growing night economy, he said.
“We’re going beyond the typical nine to five work day in the CBD because the biggest growth market for us is tourists and residents and they are attracted to an evening economy and a weekend destination – our leasing strategy reflects that,” Woods said.
The intention was that Commercial Bay would act as an “extension of the CBD” with customers in the centre at all times, Woods said. “We see the centre as a transition to a global [city], how customers would typically use a city in any global location in the world like Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York; our operators are aligned with that approach.”
Auckland’s night economy is valued at $470 million and has grown a rate of around 7 per cent each year over the past two years, making up nearly a third of the city’s overall spend – valued at more than $1.5 billion.
The hospitality sector in Auckland is booming. In the 12 months to March, the city centre generated $308.7m, making up 66 per cent of our night time spending.
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said hospitality and entertainment accounted for the bulk of night economy spending but there was growth opportunities for other sectors including late night shopping.
“Looking at other major cities around the world with buzzing night-time economies, a common feature is late night retail and extended shopping hours,” Beck said.
Beck said a number of stores in the city traded until at least 7pm during the week but she expected many more to do the same once Commercial Bay opened.
“Commercial Bay will be a tipping point for developing the late night retail trade in the city centre – and that other businesses in the area will likely line-up with consistent trading hours to follow suit.”
The New Zealand International Convention Centre and events such as America’s Cup will move the city forward in terms of the night-time economy too, she said.
Woods said many dining concepts had been specifically designed for Commercial Bay, some which had only been seen in London, New York and Moscow.
“We’ve developed a level and calibre of operators in a spectrum from cheap grab and go eats to something that is more formal, that doesn’t exist in Australasia.
“Aucklanders are in for a real opportunity to experience what is to come with development and in terms of being a global city.”
Retail analyst Chris Wilkinson said globally, progressive cities were turning their attention to the evening and night economies to support economic growth and respond to changing lifestyles.
“Consumer demands are changing,” Wilkinson said. “More people are using public transport, disrupters like Uber are transforming the way people are moving and dining, Lime scooters are driving micro-connectivity, while online is continuing to challenge the way we shop,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson said Auckland city itself nee