Auckland mall expansion planned by Kiwi

12:14 PM Thursday August 7, 2014 Anne Gibson

Work to upgrade West Auckland's LynnMall could begin next year.

Country’s biggest listed landlord looks at adding entertainment precinct at LynnMall and offices at Sylvia Park.

A new dining/restaurant and cinema zone at West Auckland's LynnMall and apartments and offices at Sylvia Park are planned.

Chris Gudgeon, chief executive of New Zealand's biggest NZX listed landlord, the $2.2 billion Kiwi Income Property Trust, told of plans for the sites in a Herald video interview.

"We're planning a dining lane and entertainment precinct and that's part of what we do in retail these days is round out the offer to include dining and entertainment with traditional retail," he said of LynnMall, where he forecast work could start next year.

"Within the confines of the land holding, we'll build a new footprint to take cinema and the dining precinct," he said, saying seven theatres and a $30 million-plus spend were likely.

Changes at Sylvia Park appear to be further away, with Kiwi eyeing the intensification site, now largely car parking.

Gudgeon told of new uses for the site in the video.

The opportunity to buy new malls is very few and far between.

What we have is an organic growth opportunity to expand, improve what we already have. Sylvia Park is a town centre capable of taking office as well as residential. We would do the office. We wouldn't necessarily do the residential but one day we might facilitate someone else doing residential," he said, predicting the apartments could rise at the edge of the site in new buildings.

Gudgeon warned against assuming both plans would go ahead.

"We're developing ideas and plans but it's different from saying, 'We're about to, we're starting, we're definitely doing that'," Gudgeon said. "At LynnMall, we're developing plans, establishing tenant interest and pulling a proposal together. There's nothing firm or definite but we're excited about it and we're working on it.

"We're moving ahead with plans for the next stage of LynnMall and looking at a dining and movie precinct and we think that West Auckland catchment is under-served for those offers."

Gudgeon told how Kiwi got around $70 million in an insurance payout for its now-demolished PwC Christchurch building, more than its book value on the block.

However, he criticised tax treatment of properties.

"The Majestic Centre, we have an earthquake strengthening under way. We're spending about $54 million. That would be the biggest earthquake strengthening project," he said, adding that the centre was still operating amid the work.

"We talked to the Government about the tax treatment of earthquake strengthening.

"Do you realise [with] our tax laws, there's no recognition of the cost?

"And it's a crazy situation where you can claim a tax loss if your building collapses, but if you strengthen it, you don't get any tax recognition at all.

"So it's a ludicrous situation. We continue to lobby Government and it's a long, hard road."

Kiwi Income Property Trust

Key retail assets
• Sylvia Park, Auckland
• LynnMall, Auckland
• Centre Place, Hamilton
• The Plaza, Palmerston North
• North City, Porirua
• Northlands, Christchurch
Key office assets:
• Vero Centre, Auckland
• ASB North Wharf, Auckland
• The Majestic Centre, Wellington
Unisys House, Wellington
• 44 The Terrace, Wellington
[Source: Kiwi Income Property Trust]