This isn't a mall, 'it's a town'
The bulk of a $1.6 billion town centre at Westgate in Auckland is on schedule for completion by November 2015.
Twelve years have passed since Waitakere City Council and New Zealand Retail Property Group started talking about the 56ha development that is expected to be one of Auckland's top metropolitan shopping meccas.
Group general manager Campbell Barbour said the "long stage roll-out" of construction is fast taking shape.
"It's not just a shopping mall – it's a town," he said.
"It's fantastic to finally see buildings pop up out of the ground and the timing couldn't be better with the construction of the motorway and everything else that's popping up."
The $1b development will be five times bigger than the existing Westgate shopping centre.
It will include residential and retail areas, offices, a library, town square and 6ha of outdoor space featuring cycle lanes, a skatepark, playground and parks.
Foodstuffs has started building a Pak 'n Save that will open its doors to shoppers before the end of the year.
The company will begin work on a Mitre 10 Mega store late this year.
Construction of the library, community rooms and offices will begin from September 2015.
The whole development will be complemented by the addition of 5000 new houses and apartments in 2016.
The centre is expected to generate 8500 jobs in the commercial and retail centres.
Barbour said there's been huge interest from businesses and residents about the developments.
"The west is one of Auckland's fastest growing regions and there's lots of opportunity for high quality business and retail.
"Sylvia Park and Albany malls have been so successful and Westgate is the next best thing," he said.
Massey Henderson Local Board chairwoman Vanessa Neeson says the development brings a raft of opportunities to the area.
"When I moved out here 30 years ago it was a sea of houses and we had to travel for work.
"Communities had no opportunities close to where they live.
"Now we should be able to have an economical, thriving community where we are," she said.
- Western Leader