Change afoot in city malls


Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
There's a lot going on at Dunedin’s centre city malls.

New businesses are set to move into the Golden Centre as a long-time tenant gets ready to move out, and next door, at the Meridian Mall, one department store is set to shut and another says it plans to reopen next week, though its long-term future is in question.

Golden Centre mall director Jason LaHood said Timezone Family Entertainment had signed up for 750sq m of space at the former food court, and planned a fit-out exceeding $2 million.

Singapore company representatives were keen to invest in New Zealand after the country’s success in shutting down the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

The future of Dunedin’s Kmart is less clear. It plans to reopen in the Meridian Mall on Thursday, according to its New Zealand website and a statement released by the company late last month, though speculation persists it is considering alternative sites.

The uncertainty comes at the same time as a final decision about closure looms for another large retailer at the mall, H&J Smith. An announcement is expected early next week.

Meanwhile, Mr LaHood said Jan Collins had retired and sold the Hype fashion shop after 30 years at the Golden Centre and the landlord was concluding a leasing arrangement with a new tenant.

It is understood Hype is moving to George St, but staff at the shop declined to comment yesterday.

Dunedin city councillor Jules Radich, who is also a director and shareholder of the Golden Centre, said the situation with H&J Smith and Kmart was distressing.

"Unfortunate experiments" in George St — including creating speed bumps and reducing the speed limit — were not helping, Cr Radich said.

However, Mr LaHood said free parking had brought people back to the central business district.

"We’ve done surveys of retailers and shoppers and they show people are coming into George St more often, because the parking is free," he said.

"They’re coming three or four times a week, rather than once. We’re hopeful the free parking will continue through winter."

Suits on Wall St owner Martyn Ballantyne said the market was tight for retailers but it was picking up.

"You can already see the lift. It’s slowly building."

Kmart’s most recent statement, issued last week, says the Dunedin shop remains closed while the chain awaits engineering advice.

The department store is known to have misgivings about seismic strengthening needed at the Meridian Mall.

H&J Smith has consulted with staff about plans to close its Dunedin, Mosgiel, Balclutha and Te Anau shops, and to downsize its Gore shop. Under the proposal, the Armoury Store in Dunedin and Outdoor World in Queenstown would also shut and the Take Note shop in Gore would move.

The Oyster Property Group manages the Meridian Mall. Its retail manager, Jennifer Andrews, said the group was working through rent relief arrangements with tenants.

"We have agreed abatements with some tenants and are in discussions with others."

The mall was a key part of Dunedin’s city centre.

"We have been pleased to see how customers are enjoying coming back to it since it reopened."

Kmart did not respond to requests for comment and other retailers at the mall declined to comment about uncertainty resulting from the current movements.



View all

"We’ve done surveys of retailers and shoppers and they show people are coming into George St more often, because the parking is free,".....
Oh dear! That must mean more cars on our main streets, and the council simply can't allow that. Time to reduce the number of car parks again, and put up parking fees....again.

How dare Dunedin citizens use a car to get into town with! There are plenty of buses and lots of cycle lanes!.......
So why AREN'T you strapping that new coffee table you bought from Kmart, on your back and cycling home?...Why aren't you carrying those 12 bags of groceries from New World, onto the bus?...Why can't you carry that new office chair you bought from The Warehouse while you walk to your home on Opoho, in the rain?!
This council is determined to make your shopping experience so bad, you won't want to visit the CBD. Then we can have two 'Green Belts'.....The new one being along Gerorge and Princes Sts.

With a population exceeding 20,000 could Mosgiel sustain a decent shopping mall? Being only 10 min from the city centre could the very large old countdown building and parking site be turned into a Taieri Westfield/Stocklands Plaza? Have 1 level underground or roof top for free parking and a food court provided giving Maccas and KFC their much wanted footprint into the suburb. Even the warehouse already adjacent to the sight could be adjoined and a large Kmart would make a brilliant drawcard and anchor retailer. Many Dunedinites would find the short run to Mosgiel better than speed humps and parking in our current city centre.....just thoughts....

We need more parking in the city, not less, making it easier for shoppers to access town and enjoy the shops and malls. I don't think our silly council has grasped that yet.

In the meantime, it's common knowledge that rents in the meridian and golden centre are sky high.

Perhaps a new approach by landlords is called for - why not lower the rents and request a percentage of profits instead of a flat rental fee? Thinking laterally might be a positive for everyone involved!

Mosgiel with 20,000. Looking ahead is one thing but not 150 years time. Mosgiel has been stuck on 9,500 forever, or since Snow White was freed from them Dwarfs

Mosgiel includes East Taieri, Wingatui, Kinmont and all the new subivisions, so it's a lot higher than 9,500. Last i heard it was in excess of 13,000.
With more subdivisions planned, and a huge rest home being built by State Highway 1 between East Taieri and Kinmont, it'll get to 20,000 a lot sooner than you think.

We are both wrong Otago85, Wikipedia has it at 13,400 at 2019.

Drive around Dunedin and count the number of empty stores. Walk through the meridian and down George Street and count the number of empty stores. Start at the octogon and go south towards pac and save, count the number of empty stores. They are all over and the number keeps going up. Dunedin was dying before the pandemic. It's only going to get worse. There is no reason to go to the CBD. The shopping sucks and the added cost of parking makes it financially impractical to buy things. The quality and selection of goods is poor and non existent. DCC is the problem. No vision, poor leadership and difficult to work with. Easier to buy on line or go for a real shopping experience to Christchurch. Screw Dunedin businesses. You want to kiss DCCs butt, you got what you deserve. How's it working for your bottom line? You want to get our business? Start standing up to these bumbling idiots or start papering the windows of your shops. You can't have it both ways. More than happy to vote with my feet and spend my money elsewhere.

View all





Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter