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The official opening of Commercial Bay in the heart of the Auckland CBD was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony on 11 June – Photos by Anna Kidman Photography

Transformational Commercial Bay officially opens its doors

Commercial Bay, Auckland’s newest retail and hospitality precinct, has officially opened its doors to the public. With more than 120 retailers across fashion, food and beverage, beauty and specialty retail, the project brings together the largest concentration of high-quality local and international retailers to the heart of Auckland city.

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Commercial Bay owner Precinct Properties’ CEO Scott Pritchard, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff, Minister of Urban Development Phil Twyford, and Ngati Whatua Orakei unveiled the much-anticipated $1 billion development in the heart of the city on Thursday 11 June to a crowd of shoppers eager to have the first look.

The transformational mixed-use precinct will also be home to an estimated 10,000 workers once the striking new PwC Tower is completed in July. The future redevelopment of One Queen Street will make Commercial Bay the largest office and retail precinct in the city centre.

Scott Pritchard says Commercial Bay’s opening is a momentous occasion for both Precinct Properties and New Zealand. “We are immensely proud to open Commercial Bay, an outstanding retail precinct that will redefine Auckland’s centre city and play an integral role in its ongoing revitalisation,” he says.

“We set out with a clear vision to create a world-class waterfront destination on par with other gateway cities, and we are proud to have achieved this, thanks to the commitment of our team and project partners.”

A challenging few months

Mr Pritchard says that it is a poignant time for Commercial Bay to be opening, as New Zealand kickstarts its economy after moving to Alert Level One following the Covid-19 lockdown. “Despite the extraordinary circumstances we are opening under, I am extremely delighted to welcome Aucklanders and visitors to a new and exciting part of the city where they can shop, eat, drink and experience all Commercial Bay has to offer,” he says.

“We are incredibly proud to support our local businesses as well as first-to-market retailers as they open after a challenging few months. During this crucial time as New Zealand moves to restart its economy after lockdown, I encourage people to support these retailers and food operators.”

Commercial Bay owner Precinct Properties’ CEO Scott Pritchard: “We set out with a clear vision to create a world-class waterfront destination on par with other gateway cities”

The vibrant open-air laneway-based retail environment, designed by Warren and Mahoney in association with NH Architecture, and built by Fletcher Construction, has been created as an extension of the city and pays homage to its rich history, combining modern, airy architectural spaces with elements of the city’s historic design. 

Since the 1800s, the southern shore of the Waitemata Harbour has been an important place of transport, trade and commerce, an area once called Commercial Bay. Precinct Properties worked closely with mana whenua groups Ngati Whatua Orakei, Ngai Tai ki Tamaki, Ngati Te Ata Waiohua, and Ngati Paoa, who were integral in the naming and design of Commercial Bay’s laneways and artworks.

“It has been crucial for us to understand and honour the past, working with iwi and our designers, Warren and Mahoney, to reinstate Commercial Bay as the centre of activity, trade and commerce in the city,” says Mr Pritchard.

An ambitious development

Fletcher Construction chief executive Peter Reidy says the opening of Commercial Bay is a significant milestone for New Zealand, and Precinct Properties is to be congratulated for its investment in the city. “This is so much more than a building or a retail and hospitality precinct. Commercial Bay is an ambitious development which will transform Auckland’s CBD and waterfront, returning this area to a centre of trade and activity in the city,” he notes.

“I’m immensely proud of our team and what they have achieved. They showed true Fletcher spirit in completing this iconic project, which will have pride of place in the city for generations to come.”

Mr Reidy says as many as 2000 people, including subcontractors, were working on the Commercial Bay project at its peak. The project replaces the ageing Downtown Shopping Centre, which first opened in 1974; Fletcher Construction began demolition of that in mid-2016. The demolition consumed nearly 15,000 hours of time and over 9500 tonnes of materials were removed. “Recycling and repurposing materials from the site was a major focus for this project and we are proud to say 84% of materials removed from the site have been recycled,” Mr Reidy says.

“It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our people to be involved in such a challenging and transformational project which will leave a huge legacy in this city.”

Commercial Bay links four existing buildings to the new 39-storey PwC office tower, New Zealand’s largest steel tower. The tower’s foundations were dug concurrently with the beginning of the tunnels for the City Rail Link.


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