Retailers sought for historic Queen Street building
Retail operators are being sought as the ground-floor anchor tenants for the newly-refurbished Queen’s Rise heritage building in Auckland’s Queen Street.
The former Bank of New Zealand Tower at 125 Queen Street has a total of 655 square metres of street-level floor space on offer – either as two separate sites which can be partitioned off or as one seamless space.
The two retail sites within Queen’s Rise are being leased by Bayleys Real Estate through leasing agents Leah La Hood and Meredith Graham. Ms La Hood said the grand nature and profile of the historic facade lent itself to hosting designer consumer brand tenants.
Ms La Hood said the Neo-Classical façade of the old BNZ bank mirrored the architecture of high-end department stores in the likes of London, Brussels, Madrid and Paris from around the same period. This was particularly epitomized by the building’s six street-fronting windows.
“At some two metres high, set back into the building’s main structure and framed by large plinths made of Tasmanian sandstone, the six windows are the ‘eyes’ to the store’s interior” she said.
“The 150-year old building is one of the finest heritage character structures remaining in Queen Street, and is befitting of a style-orientated brand tenant or tenants. Entrance to the retail sites will be through two large heritage doors.
“Inside, the retail spaces are being refurbished – retaining the heritage aspects and grandeur of the entrance way, while simultaneously adding a modern open-plan footprint to the shopping zones.
“The strategy is that Queen’s Rise will be a multi-faceted ‘magnet’ – with visitors attracted through employment in the offices above and the attraction of the Queen’s Rise food and beverage outlets. Combined, these separate pieces of the commercial jigsaw will pull in a substantial amount of foot traffic.”
Ms La Hood said the two street-level spaces available to lease were part of a much bigger refurbishment and repositioning of the Queen’s Rise tower – including 25 levels of A-grade commercial premises anticipated to house some 1,500 personnel.
Other retail and recreational operations within the Queen’s Rise building include a New World ‘Metro’ supermarket, a corporate fitness studio and separate childcare facility.
Meanwhile, the dining precinct on the first level is gradually being tenanted by a mix of independent hospitality specialists targeting the foodservice requirements of the surrounding corporate clientele.
“This dining precinct is anticipated to be an extension of the offices above – a relaxed place to welcome visitors, and a convenient breakout area for meetings over a cup of coffee. A ground floor café/bar will be located within the stylish and high-end lobby lounge,” Ms La Hood said.
Ms Graham said the availability of two large retail sites within Queen’s Rise added to a frenetic period of retail leasing activity on Queen Street. Recent high-profile big-brand tenancies to have signed up on the strip include:
•Coffee-maker Nespresso moving into premises on the corner of Queen Street and Customs Street
•Menswear purveyor Hugo Boss has signed up the space vacated by Michael Hill Jeweller at 44 Queen Street, while in a domino effect, Michael Hill is relocating to a shop on the corner of Vulcan Lane and Queen Street
•Beauty products purveyor Elizabeth Arden has found a new home at 62 Queen Street next to the Quest on Queen Hotel
•Clothing and fashion accessory label Global Culture is establishing a presence at 94 Queen Street, directly opposite Queen’s Rise and Life Pharmacy is taking over the lease of the former Rip Curl outlet at 101 Queen Street.
Queen Street underwent a $40 million upgrade in 2007 – with footpaths widened and laid in basalt stone, along with the installation of new pedestrian crossings and seating improvements. The upgrade resulted in a 25 percent increase in weekday pedestrian foot traffic.
Phase two of the council’s CBD improvement programme is currently underway – with $130 million set aside for new and streetscape landscaping, designed to underpin the performance of shops and businesses along the Queen Street corridor over the coming 10 years.
“The council plan has identified that Queen Street has an important role through housing the most significant concentration of retail activity outside of suburban shopping malls,” Ms Graham said.
Ms Graham envisaged that major brands will be enticed into leasing Queen’s Rise ground floor space including sportswear apparel labels and other lifestyle brands.
“CBD retail is supported by the surrounding corporate population during the week, along with both international and domestic visitors staying in the central city’s hotels over the seven day cycle,” she said.
“That CBD customer demographic seeks a different shopping experience to a suburban mall. The customer spend is more discretionary than necessity-based. Queen’s Rise by its very nature delivers that premium shopping perception.”