How Auckland Airport is transforming outlet shopping for New Zealanders


New Zealand shoppers will be warmly welcomed to what a modern, truly international outlet center can offer when Auckland Airport opens its new premium shopping destination at Mānawa Bay in 2024.

Five years in the planning, Mānawa Bay will embrace its park-like location on Manukau Harbor on the northeastern edge of Auckland Airport’s compound. And, as detailed plans unveiled by Auckland Airport this week show, it will set a new benchmark for outlet shopping in a purpose-built high-end center that will provide space to connect customers to more than 100 international and New Zealand brands.

With initial earthworks for its build platform on a 150,000m² site completed, the development has entered a new construction milestone with the next phase of works set to commence in the spring. When completed, it will provide a bright and architecturally striking home for 100 stores across 24,000m² of retail space and stores ranging in size from 50m² to 1,500m².

“Our vision,” says Mark Thomson, GM real estate and commercial at the airport, of this more than $200 million investment, “is to inspire New Zealanders with the best shopping experience imaginable.”

The mall was named Mānawa Bay, reflecting the airport’s unique location on the Māngere Peninsula and the historical and cultural significance of this area to tangata whenua. In te reo Māori, Mānawa means mangroves – a coastal plant species that has long featured in the waterways surrounding the land on which Auckland Airport sits. Auckland Airport is working closely with local iwi on the project.

A leading shopping destination for an untapped market

Research by Forward Insight in 2021 found that while 65% of Auckland residents intended to visit the centre, strikingly 58% of respondents from elsewhere in New Zealand – many of whom would make a dedicated trip or would plan their trip to Auckland plans for an all day shopping tour.

Shopping centers are experiencing a revival around the world, says Graham Taylor, TRCB’s principal architect, who is leading the design of the mall and whose firm also led the design of the DFO Perth shopping center at Perth Airport .

“Today’s customers want authentic and convenient shopping experiences with a multitude of choices. High-end outlet malls are growing as a distinct and popular retail category, especially at airports,” Taylor said. “It’s no longer just a place to buy second-hand or last-season fashion items at discounted prices; they have evolved into a much more upscale and immersive shopping experience.

“With a food court in the heart of the center, it will offer indoor/outdoor seating and large windows maximizing water views, natural light and the northern sun. The interior will be deliberately uncluttered, with polished concrete floors and an overall industrial finish, except for guest amenities such as bathrooms which are modeled after a resort hotel style.

“We create a space that every customer feels comfortable in, whether shopping for a new t-shirt or high-end fashion accessories.”

Thomson says the airport will not only be the country’s main outlet shopping destination: “We will provide an exciting and enriching experience in a way unique to New Zealand, connecting shoppers to the best international and local brands.

“Mānawa Bay will offer a wide variety of fashion, apparel and homeware brands for customers to choose from while enjoying the central food and beverage area that extends to al fresco dining and dining. a park.”

Mānawa Bay will be built with a strong emphasis on sustainable design principles and strong, durable materials with minimal energy requirements. Auckland Airport is aiming for 5-star green design and construction with development.

Michael Bate, head of Colliers Retail, says a typical response to news of development from retail brand representatives is “finally New Zealand has a real high-end shopping centre”.

“We know from the Fashion Brand Centers at Foreign Airports that this is a proven and resilient retail model and a destination of choice for shoppers,” Bate said.

“We look forward to opening the doors in 2024.”


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