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St Laurence to develop $16 million retail complex

30 October 2006

St Laurence to develop $16 million retail complex at Mt Wellington

Diversified property investor St Laurence Property & Finance is proposing to develop a $16 million convenience retail complex along the border of the Mt Wellington Quarry on Lunn Avenue in Auckland.

The complex will be Stage One in a two-stage project to be developed by St Laurence and joint venture partner Greenstone Group. The joint venture partners acquired five hectares of development land from Landco in 2003 after recognising the development potential of the site. The resource consent application for Stage One has already been lodged.

St Laurence Property & Finance has more than $360 million of property based assets and is part of the wider $1 billion St Laurence property-based investment and finance group.

St Laurence Property & Finance chief executive John Mallon says several tenants have already been secured for Stage One, including a DB tavern and a number of restaurants and food outlets. “St Laurence expects to announce further leasing pre-commitments from leading retail brands in the next few months,” Mr Mallon says.

Stage One will occupy 15 tenancies, totaling 2,700 square metres and stretch more than 300 metres along Lunn Avenue. The development will be serviced by more than 200 carparks. A number of the restaurants will be raised above ground level to take advantage of the sweeping views over the quarry floor, the proposed lake and Mt Wellington itself.

The architectural theme of the development is “elegant sheds” which reflects modern New Zealand architecture. “This will set the scene for the remainder of the developments we undertake in this area.”

St Laurence and Greenstone own six lots on the North side of Lunn Avenue including a prime 3.2 hectare site located on the corner of Lunn Avenue and College Road. The corner site will become Stage Two of the Lunn Avenue development.

“We are investigating a range of options for this corner site, with a view to creating a landmark development accompanied by icon buildings and state of the art architecture,” Mr Mallon said. “The first tenants in Stage One will set the scene for Stage Two and the remainder of the development.”

St Laurence’s vision is to create a base that will support the growing community at Mt Wellington and will include office, retail and amenities. “Lunn Avenue is being transformed from an industrial location to one that accommodates both retail and commercial businesses. It is ideal for redevelopment, particularly with the nearby retirement village under development and residential houses on the quarry now at building stage.”

Lunn Avenue carries over 20,000 vehicles on a daily basis giving tenants a high profile to an emerging new suburb that will require high quality services.

Greenstone Group director John Abel-Pattinson says the area is going to evolve significantly over the next five to ten years. “The quarry floor is expecting 2,500 new homes, supporting 7,700 new residents over the next decade,” he said. This amounts to more than a quarter of Tamaki’s projected population growth of 30,000 people by 2015.

“If we attract the right tenant mix, then this development will successfully support the growing community. The key to developing a mixed use retail development is to avoid attracting too many tenants that retail similar services and products,” Mr Abel-Pattinson said. Function and value will be the motivating factors behind the development’s architecture, presentation and landscaping.

Mr Abel-Pattinson said the adjoining Glenn Innes and Panmure suburbs have been designated by the Auckland Regional Council as “growth nodes” that are able to support higher housing density.

There are also a number of developments in the surrounding area expected to increase the flow of traffic to Mt Wellington. Netball NZ recently opened a world class multimillion dollar 50 court netball centre in Mt Wellington, while the University nearby is expanding its postgraduate services in its campus in Glen Innes.

“These developments, coupled with the regular daily traffic flow in and out of the city, are bringing a significant amount of traffic during the week and at weekends,” Mr Abel-Pattinson said. During the week, a significant amount of daytime trade was also attracted to Lunn Avenue because of the industrial and commercial catchment surrounding Mt Wellington.

“This area has all the hallmarks of fringe city centres like Botany Downs because of its strong and rapidly growing population. Lunn Avenue is situated on the edge of a large new suburb.”

Mr Mallon said St Laurence’s joint venture partner Greenstone Group, was an ideal partner in this project because of its project and development management expertise in retail and town centres. Greenstone is involved in a number of retail projects around New Zealand including acting as project managers for the new AMP-owned Bethlehem centre in North Tauranga.

ENDS


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