Prime CBD food and beverage operators are expected to see a surge in patronage as workers return to central Auckland following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, which shapes as a much-needed boost for the sector.
“All signs are pointing towards a strong uptick in people entering the CBD as workers return to the office following the Omicron outbreak,” Pettitt says.
“Looking ahead to the rest of the year, a potential return of cruise ships to the city and an influx of international tourists will only add to the demand that we are seeing in Auckland’s current popular hotspots.
“Pedestrian counts from the Heart of the City indicate there is ongoing growth throughout central Auckland. All 18 pedestrian hotspot counters are now showing above average foot traffic for May.”
Pettitt recently leased the site of the former Euro restaurant to international burger chain Wahlburgers, made famous through actor Mark Wahlberg who is a co-founder, alongside his brothers Donnie and Paul.
The property is one of a number of sites the chain is targeting across New Zealand and Mark Wahlberg is expected to attend the opening of the Auckland restaurant.
“Princes Wharf is one of the most visually appealing locations in central Auckland and is steeped in history through the popularity of Euro,” Pettitt says.
“There was significant demand for the site, so it was an outstanding outcome to see a prominent tenant with international profile and brand recognition lease the property.
“International interest in Auckland’s CBD is expected to rise following the ongoing removal of border restrictions allowing international investors to inspect potential sites with ease after a challenging period caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
While Covid-19 caused unrest for some food and beverage operators, Pettitt says many established restaurants and bars were able to pivot to weather the storm.
“Restaurants had to be creative by managing their opening hours and menu items but those who have got through the challenges of the Delta and Omicron outbreaks are likely to experience a much-needed increase in customers during the coming months.
“There are very few prime sites available for lease in lower Queen Street and around the Viaduct, which signals that many long-standing food and beverage outlets believed they would see the light at the end of the tunnel and that appears to be on the way.
“The construction of the Commercial Bay precinct and the steady completion of the surrounding roadworks, coupled with the impending upgrades to the Britomart Transport Centre, means the central city will soon return to being a thriving destination for many.”