Retailers move closer to Centre Place

JAMIE SMALL
Last updated 12:06 13/08/2014
centre place
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ

RETAIL ATTRACTION: Centre Place was expanded and reopened in October 2013.

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Central Hamilton retailers are repositioning to get closer to Centre Place and Wintec.

Retail occupancy has risen against all odds in Hamilton's central business district (CBD) this winter, according to a biannual survey produced by NAI Harcourts and CBRE Research.

The survey shows that during the six months to the end of June retail vacancy dropped 0.8 per cent to 10.6 per cent in the CBD.

"For this time of year there's been a huge amount of retail movement," said NAI Harcourts Hamilton managing director Mike Neale.

He said some businesses, such as The Baby Factory and Kathmandu, moved into smaller stores in the CBD. Other retailers have moved into Bryce St, Barton St and the PwC Centre to get closer to the newly expanded Centre Place mall and Wintec campus.

"A lot of it's been businesses repositioning themselves for the future," he said. "But we've also seen a few new ones come in."

He said retail occupancy normally drops in June, especially in an election year and with a rising official cash rate. "Once the election's out of the way and we're heading towards Christmas we would expect to see continued improvement."

Many retailers take new leases in September and October, including pop-up stores that exist only for the Christmas period or summer months.

Neale said Hamilton's hospitality precinct around Hood St was near capacity. "[In] hospitality there's always people looking to go into new premises."

The net uptake of space by retailers was 1479 square metres over the six-month period.

The total retail space available in the CBD increased by 800sqm, due to renovations and redevelopments. No new builds were completed in the first half of the year. Total vacant space decreased by 680sqm.

The survey report said a short-term increase in vacancy is expected further away from Centre Place as retailers move closer to the mall. Some vacant buildings are expected to be removed from the market for refurbishment.

jamie.small@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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