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The Palms Moves To Meet Growth In Christchurch

An expansion programme by The Palms Shopping Centre in the burgeoning north east of Christchurch is expected to cost more than $50 million and yield the same amount in retail turnover in its first year.

Forty new retail shops covering an added 16,000 sq m are to be added to The Palms which is 10 minutes’ drive north-east of Christchurch city centre.

The Palms is New Zealand’s biggest privately-owned shopping centre and is co-owned by Tim Glasson and Christchurch businessmen Max and Glen Percasky.

Because of huge predicted growth in the centre’s catchment area, the emphasis will be on entertainment, youth and fashion retailing. Housing for an estimated 10,000 more people is expected to be built on rezoned sections in the area within the next few years.

Already the area has one of the country’s highest school densities with 36 within a 3.25 kms radius of The Palms.

Initially the existing Big Fresh supermarket is to be converted to a Woolworths signature store. The latest Farmers concept store will be added to the updated K-Mart.

The Palms management says the area has huge opportunities for national and international retailers. The aim is to capture not only local shoppers but also to become a strong shopping destination for the Christchurch region.

A marketing team lead by real estate agent H. G. Livingstone Ltd is targeting leading retail brands in New Zealand and Australia. The aim is to attract entertainment, new fashion and youth retail brand tenants to fill the planned 16,000 sq m of new space.

Livingstone says the area is under-shopped with only 40 per cent of the retail space per head of population compared to west Christchurch. Primary and secondary catchment area population growth is expected to be Christchurch’s greatest in the north east in the next decade.

Livingstone director Evan Harris says major upgrading of local arterial roads and the addition of key new cornerstone retailers will provide additional shoppers for new and existing retailers.

The expansion will add 40 new stores to the 60 already in the centre and is expected to lift turnover to at least $150 million in the first year.

The project will involve

- an increase in retail space from 18,000 sq m to 34,000 sq m;

- conversion of the existing Big Fresh supermarket to a signature Woolworths supermarket;

- the planned addition of a multiplex movie theatre complex to the top level of the building and an entertainment precinct;

- opening of the latest concept Farmers store;

- a 33 per cent bigger foodcourt seating more than 450 people;

- a 55 per cent increase to 2,000 in the number of people employed at The Palms;

- increasing car parking to 1,400 spaces with half under cover.

Livingstone has drawn up a list of potential tenants in a carefully-planned strategy to complement the existing mix at The Palms.

Included in the present tenant mix are well known retail brands Bond & Bond, Hallensteins, Glassons, Living & Giving, McDonalds, Noel Leeming, Paper Plus, Pascoes, Whitcoulls and four major banks.

Mr Harris says the current customer count at the centre is more than 5.6 million people annually and The Palms has a catchment income of $875 million of which $459 million is spent on retail.

He says the spend in the area is calculated by retail economics experts Jebb Holland Dimasi to grow 14 per cent or an additional $62 million by 2006, new spending that would be available to The Palms retailers. And with the larger centre the catchment is expected to grow significantly.

Mr Harris says more than half existing tenants at The Palms are national retailers and 28 per cent are international.

The new Woolworths signature supermarket is due to open in late April and new concept Farmers in November. The speciality extension will open in June this year and the entertainment, youth and fashion area in November. The cinemas are planned to be operating in 2003.

The Palms opened in 1996 with turnover in its fifth year of operation exceeding $104 million. It was sold to its existing owners in 1999.


Issued for The Palms by Pead PR

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