New Queen St dining precinct shows food retail still the star

Successful Queen's Rise launch highlights demand for dining retail

The enormously successful launch of Auckland’s upmarket Queen’s Rise dining precinct highlights the strong demand for quality food and beverage offerings, Colliers International retail experts say.

The new CBD dining precinct – nestled behind the historic façade of 125 Queen Street, at the base of the newly refurbished QBE Centre – has been packed with diners every day since opening its doors last month.

Queen’s Rise offers 11 distinct dining options, from poke bowls and pizza through to mezze platters and fresh oysters – all in an edgy setting that combines heritage character with industrial chic.

Leasing agents Nilesh Patel and Chloe Franklin-Hall, of Colliers International’s Retail team, carefully curated the sophisticated mix of eateries with Queen’s Rise developer, Winton Partners.

Patel says the dining precinct was fully leased months before its launch, and he’s been thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive public response so far.

“We knew there was an appetite for a casual yet refined dining venue in Auckland’s CBD and we are not surprised at how well it has taken off,” he says.

“The success of Queen’s Rise really underscores the ongoing trend towards curated retail environments that offer customer experiences that can’t be replicated online.

“People still want to get out of the house, grab a bite to eat, meet friends, and have a drink. Because of this, the food and beverage sector is experiencing strong growth.”

Patel says Queen’s Rise is a true all-day destination, offering everything from convenient morning coffees through to the unhurried indulgence of an after-show dinner.

“Individuals or groups can order from one or more eateries, making for a ‘mix and match’ experience that is sure to delight even the most discerning diners.”

Tenants include tapas eatery Ottoman Mezze Bar; contemporary cuisine offering Lowbrow; oyster bar Grace; Dante’s Pizzeria; dumpling restaurant Panda; Poke Bar; superfood bar Nourish Pod; loaded potato eatery Potato & Me; gourmet chicken and sandwich deli Dolly Bird; Japanese donburi eatery Tokyo Loco Bowl; and salad and soup eatery Jar Story.

Franklin-Hall says the new dining precinct is easily accessible via escalators leading up from the historic colonnaded façade on Queen Street.

Street level access is also offered via Swanson Street, which runs along the northern end of Queen’s Rise.

“The high-end fit out includes mosaic tiling, brass detailing, pressed tin ceilings, feature lighting, exposed structures and raw materials,” Franklin-Hall says.

“The rest rooms and customer facilities are also finished to a very high standard.”

Shared seating, including a number of outdoor tables, allows for flexible dining.

Duncan Elley of developer Winton, says Queen’s Rise is ideally located on Auckland’s premier shopping boulevard.

“Queen Street boasts high-end shops, theatres, art galleries, and dynamic city centre attractions, and is within walking distance of major hotels, office towers and educational institutions.

“All of this makes Queen’s Rise perfectly positioned to ensure retail success.”

Patel says lower and mid Queen Street has been undergoing a renaissance in recent times, and this is set to continue under Auckland Council’s City Centre Master Plan.

“Queen Street attracts 9 million pedestrians a year, including residents, workers and tourists,” he says.

“Some 90,000 people work in the CBD, giving Queen’s Rise exposure to about 33,000 workers every weekday.

“This includes a captive audience of 1,700 staff working onsite in the newly refurbished QBE Centre.”

Franklin-Hall says 249,000 cruise ship passengers visit central Auckland every year, while the city attracts some 12,000 tourists every day.

A significant and growing population of 24,000 residents live in the city centre, while some 60,000 tertiary students attend nearby universities and tertiary providers.

Auckland has enjoyed a 17.6 per cent growth in spending year on year, compared with 4.3 per cent for competing areas.

“We’re excited to offer a dynamic new dining precinct that is superbly positioned to capitalise on this growth,” Elley says.

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