Operators sought for new CBD eating precinct

5:00 AM Saturday May 21, 2016 Paul Charman

An artist’s impression of the high-end eateries at Queens Rise.

A high-end and diverse eating precinct is coming to Auckland’s Queen St and backers claim it will be the first of its type in New Zealand.

Colliers International brokers are billing “Queens Rise” as a shared dining establishment, one tailored to varied and sophisticated tastes now evident among CBD diners.

Brokers Nilesh Patel and Chloe Franklin-Hall are seeking accomplished food operators keen to be part of the facility, which is taking shape at 125 Queen St.

“It’s to be a one-of-a-kind licensed eating precinct, nestled along one of New Zealand’s most famous and busiest streets,” says Patel.

“We want a wide range of high-end operators interested in securing a lease — rather than national chains — anyone capable of delivering a premium dining experience.”

The plan is to create the new social centre at the heart of Auckland city, he says. “It’s to be open from breakfast through to dinner and will include both in-tenancy and shared seating. Facilities will encourage diners to mingle, enjoying a range of options and cuisine suitable for all tastes and preferences.

“The concept is similar to Pitt St Mall, in Sydney,” he says. Patel is confident no similar projects are in the pipeline.

“At this point there is to be nothing like it in the whole of Auckland Central.”

In the newly-refurbished first-level of a heritage building, the dining precinct is to receive a high quality fit-out, incorporating mosaic tiling, brass detailing and feature lighting.

It will be accessed by way of escalators from Queen St, or directly at street level via Mills Lane.

“While the area has been recently renovated, the feel of the heritage building is maintained in terms of fittings and decor — but with an edgy and intriguing twist. This makes for an upmarket but inclusive atmosphere. The feature tenancy is being fitted out by the landlord and includes an aquamarine stone bar, open kitchen and leather banquet seating.”

According to Patel, trends surrounding eating out have been shifting locally and overseas.

“Around the world we're seeing more premises feature the concept of shared-dining and this precinct will be the perfect example of this,” Patel says.

The eateries in the precinct will range in size from 20sq m to 108sq m.

There is to be scope for a wide range of cuisine and tastes — from east to west — a range of meal types, from tapas to shared dishes and meals.

“Because of the location, operators can have an all-day trade with patrons including some of the 1500 corporate workers on-site.

“An additional 40,000 workers are within a 10-minute-walk,” Patel points out.

“Thousands of pedestrians ply Queen St on any given day, while the precinct is within walking distance of the cruise ship terminal.

“Cruise New Zealand figures estimate 259,000 cruise ship passengers will visit our ports next summer, with their spending set to top $540 million.”

“Queen St, like New Zealand itself, is fast becoming known among tourists and we’re seeing a significant tourist retail spend within the Auckland CBD.

“Central Auckland increasingly reflects an international flavour, as already seen by the diverse cuisine available in the inner-city.

“Hence potential Queens Rise operators can be certain of an established demand for a vast range of tastes and cuisine,” says Patel.

The CBD is the largest employment centre in New Zealand, with around 91,200 employees, representing 13 per cent of the regional workforce, and 25 per cent of the Auckland City workforce, Franklin-Hall says.

“Queen’s Rise is set to become a hub for shared dining experiences in Auckland and we anticipate significant interest in such a fantastic space,” Franklin-Hall says.