Auckland Airport plans for 100-store fashion retail plaza

Auckland Airport’s $200 million premium outlet shopping complex reaches a new milestone as it unveils a premium 100-store fashion, athleisure, and lifestyle precinct.

Earlier this year, Auckland Airport began developing a 150,000m2 site in preparation for the new shopping destination, which also includes contemporary food and dining options.

With the foundation set, the next phase of construction for the retail plaza will begin this spring.

Auckland Airport partnered on the design with TRCB Architects – the company that led the design of the DFO Perth outlet centre at Perth Airport.

TRCB architect Graham Taylor said retail shopping centres have experienced a revival around the world, capturing the attention of customers wanting “authentic, convenient shopping experiences with a multitude of choice.”

“Premium outlet centres are growing as a distinct and popular retail category, particularly at airport locations.

“They’re no longer a place just to buy seconds or last season’s fashion goods at discount prices – they’ve evolved to a much more upmarket and immersive shopping experience.

“A number of international brands now have distinct strategies around outlet locations, recognising they have a broad and captive market to deliver new, contemporary fashion goods and accessories.”

Taylor said the outlet centre’s park-like setting would make it “one of the leading outlet centres in Australasia”, with a food-and-beverage area offering indoor and outdoor seating with large windows maximising water views and bringing in natural light and northern sun.

Inside, the outlet centre will be purposefully pared-back, with polished concrete floors and an overall industrial finish, apart from customer amenities which introduce warm colour, natural tones, and comfortable, tactile textures.

“Recognising authenticity and being comfortable in a setting have become really important to customers,” continued Taylor, “and this is reflected in the design, with a contemporary interior design that has no pretence to it.

“We’re wanting to create a space that every customer feels comfortable in, whether they’re shopping for a new t-shirt or for high-end fashion accessories.

“For the exterior, we’ve been inspired by the ideas of flight and air, reflecting the centre’s links to the airport, so we’ve played with concepts of lightness and movement, expressed graphically within the form and shape – as opposed to creating a traditional, rectangular-shaped warehouse.”

The new outlet centre is named Mānawa Bay, reflecting the airport’s unique location on the Māngere Peninsula and the historical and cultural significance of the area.

In Māori, ‘Mānawa’ means mangroves – a coastal plant species that have long featured in the waterways surrounding the land where the airport sits on.

Mark Thomson, Auckland Airport’s GM in property and commercial, said architects are carrying out detailed design work for the interior of the building. This will include three entry points and a “figure-of-eight” layout for easy movement and customer navigation.

Once complete, the building will provide 24,000m2 of retail space and stores ranging in size from 50m2 to 1500m2.

“Our vision is that when the centre opens, we will provide Kiwis with a really enjoyable and unique outlet shopping experience that will set a new benchmark in New Zealand,” said Thomson

“We’ve been delighted by the positive market response we’ve had with strong interest from both local and international brands.

“This will be New Zealand’s first ever premium purpose-built outlet centre, focused on the best international and local brands and to offer an unrivalled shopping experience to customers.”

Mānawa Bay will be built with a strong emphasis on sustainable design principles and robust, long-lasting materials with minimal energy requirements. This includes targeting a 5-Star Green design and build.

Built on a former golf course, Mānawa Bay will offer many forms of transport, both public and private, including a $160 million investment into road access within the area.

The retail plaza is expected to open in 2024.

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