Premium airport retail centre takes shape

Major construction has started on Manawa Bay, Auckland Airport’s $200 million-plus premium retail centre.
Major construction has started on Manawa Bay, Auckland Airport’s $200 million-plus premium retail centre.

Major construction has started on Manawa Bay, Auckland Airport’s $200 million-plus premium retail centre — and a flyover video offers a first glimpse of what to expect when it opens for shopping and dining.

The build phase of the fashion-led retail destination is now underway, with the appointment of Savory Construction as the lead contractor for delivering the building, car park and surrounding landscaping.

The project will support 500 to 600 jobs during the construction phase, with an estimated 1100 retail and hospitality jobs created once the centre is open and fully operating.

“We’re incredibly excited to start building Manawa Bay and the unique experience it’s going to offer Aucklanders and other visitors to the airport when it opens late-2024,” Auckland Airport chief commercial officer Mark Thomson says.

“Savory Construction is a high quality construction partner with deep experience across industrial and retail developments, and we’re delighted to be working together on this landmark project.”

Targeted to be New Zealand’s first 5 Green Star retail centre, Manawa Bay has committed to sustainability initiatives throughout the build, including optimising resources, reducing carbon emissions, enhancing the environment, and supporting local communities.

Auckland Airport has recently announced Manawa Bay will support what’s expected to be the largest rooftop solar system in New Zealand on top of the 35,000sq m building.

At 2.3 megawatts, the solar array is planned to support more than 80% of the 100-store centre’s anticipated power usage.

This represents Auckland Airport’s first steps to generate onsite renewable energy, with a rooftop solar system also planned atop the $300 million-plus Transport Hub, under construction opposite the international terminal.

“Auckland Airport is committed to tackling climate change, and these are exciting and important steps towards us reaching our 2030 net zero carbon goal,” Thomson says.

The flyover video reveals a first look in the purpose-built, outlet shopping destination that will bring together fashion, athleisure, lifestyle and homeware brands under the one roof, offering great discounts to shoppers.

“While it’s outlet shopping, the high standard of amenities and finishes may surprise,” Thomson says.

Manawa Bay will make the most of its water-facing location, and embrace large, light-filled open spaces in the dining area, and an easy-to-navigate, figure-of-eight layout for the centre, reflecting the concept of flight and air.

The video shows the park-like setting overlooking the mangroves (Manawa is one of the words for mangroves in te reo Maori), and how the central food and beverage area freely flows to alfresco dining and nature-inspired play spaces.

“With plenty of indoor plants, greenery and detailed feature ceilings, this is not your typical food court environment.

“We’ve listened and gathered feedback from prospective shoppers to inform our designs, and we’re creating a contemporary, welcoming space that our visitors will love.

“Outlet shopping is all about discovery, and the flyover shows people relaxed, connected and enjoying their surroundings,” Thomson says.

Last year Auckland Airport broke ground on the 150,000sq m site in the north-east of the airport precinct.

Site works are currently focused on constructing the foundations of the building and putting structural steel into place.

Meanwhile, the design team led by TRCB Architects has been focusing on the final touches to the design.

Savory Construction general manager Sam Lomax says Savory is proud to be working on what’s being looked upon as one of the leading outlet centres in Australasia.

“With its unrivalled location and inspired indoor and outdoor spaces for visitors to explore, Manawa Bay will set a new standard for premium outlet shopping — and we are thrilled to help deliver this exciting, go-to retail destination,” Lomax says.

Transport was a central consideration in design, and Manawa Bay is conveniently located on a main arterial route, with access to public transport options. 

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