High brow tenants sought for Queen’s Rise

5:00 AM Saturday August 29, 2015 Colin Taylor

Exterior view of the frontage of the Queen’s Rise heritage building at 125 Queen St – formerly a BNZ.

Ground floor anchor retail tenants are being sought to occupy 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.

La Hood says the grand nature and profile of the historic facade lends itself to hosting designer consumer brand tenants.

“The neo-classical façade of the old BNZ bank mirrors the architecture of high-end department stores in cities like London, Brussels, Madrid and Paris from around the same period.

“This is particularly epitomised by the building’s six street-fronting windows which are the ‘eyes’ to the store’s interior,” she says. The two metres high windows are set back into the building’s main structure and framed by large plinths made of Tasmanian sandstone.

“The 150 year old building is one of the finest heritage character structures remaining in Queen Street, and it befits a style-orientated brand tenant or tenants,” says La Hood.

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 entranceway, while creating 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, we anticipate these separate pieces of the commercial jigsaw will pull in a substantial amount of foot traffic.”

La Hood says the two street level spaces available to lease are part of a much bigger refurbishment and repositioning of the Queen’s Rise tower encompassing 25 levels of A-grade commercial premises projected to house 1500 personnel.

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Artist’s impression of a planned dining precinct on the first level of Queen’s Rise.


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.

La Hood says a planned 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 has been designed to be an extension of the offices above – providing a relaxed place to welcome visitors and to serve as a convenient breakout area for meetings over a cup of coffee. A ground floor café and bar will be located within a stylish and high-end lobby lounge.”

Graham says the latest availability of two large retail sites within Queen’s Rise have compounded 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 retailer Hugo Boss signing up to space vacated by Michael Hill Jeweller at 44 Queen St;
  • Michael Hill, in in a domino effect, relocating to a shop on the corner of Vulcan Lane and Queen St;
  • Beauty products specialist Elizabeth Arden moving to a new home at 62 Queen St next to the Quest on Queen Hotel;
  • Clothing and fashion accessory label Global Culture establishing a presence at 94 Queen St, directly opposite Queen’s Rise; and
  • Life Pharmacy taking over the lease of the former Rip Curl outlet at 101 Queen St.

Queen St underwent a $40 million upgrade in 2007 with footpaths widened and laid in basalt stone, the installation of new pedestrian crossings and public seating improvements.

Graham says the upgrade has resulted in a 25 per cent 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,” she says.

“The council plan has identified Queen Street as having an important role through housing the most significant concentration of retail activity outside of suburban shopping malls.”  Graham envisages 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 customer demographic seeks a different shopping experience to a suburban mall. The customer spend is more discretionary than necessity-based and Queen’s Rise by its very nature will deliver that premium shopping perception.”

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Leah La Hood (left), and Meredith Graham (right) of Bayleys Real Estate.