Wall Street upbeat as shops open

Megan Tregilgas, from Sydney, dresses mannequins for the opening of the new Levi's shop in the...
Megan Tregilgas, from Sydney, dresses mannequins for the opening of the new Levi's shop in the Wall Street mall. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Several shops in the Dunedin City Council's $34 million Wall Street mall will open for the first time today.

While many shops, and the mall's atrium, have still to be finished, those along the George St frontage are now stocked and ready for action.

Yesterday, store owners were busy with last-minute preparations.

Esprit's New Zealand regional manager, Louise Lewis, said there had been a great deal of interest and people had been trying to shop even before the doors opened.

The store, the German clothing retail company's 10th in New Zealand, was employing three full-time and four or five part-time staff, she said.

Wall Street project manager Dave McKenzie said yesterday the rest of the mall, its car park and central atrium would open to the public on March 21.

"It's just a matter of timing. Those [tenants] who have finished internally want to open and we don't want to hold them back, obviously."

About 90% of the complex had been leased - all to tenants new to Dunedin - and only four tenancies, for four tiny shops, had not been taken.

Mr McKenzie said some areas would not be fitted out before the official opening.

The unavailability of contractors was one factor and the new New Zealand building regulations had caught some Australian tenants by surprise.

Most of the designers are Australian and Mr McKenzie said the design process had, in some cases, been "painfully difficult".

The recession had also made tenants from Australia and the United States "a bit more nervous".

Tenants were making sure they did their sums more, "checking on things more - making sure the business case is there.

Of course, that all takes time, especially when you are dealing with overseas boards."

Mr McKenzie expects 60% of fitting out will be completed by the official opening and the remainder will be completed soon afterwards.

The biggest of the complex's 18 stores has been leased by Auckland-based Life Pharmacy, a listed company with 26 Life stores and 17 Care Chemists.

The store will employ 20 staff.

The 10 Wall Street tenants named so far are: Life Pharmacy, Country Road, Levi's, Esprit, Tarocash, Lush, Vodafone, Bras N Things, Mojo Coffee and TS 14 Plus.

mark.price@odt.co.nz

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