Westgate Pak 'n Save opening to be dry affair

10:37 AM Saturday September 27, 2014 Colin Taylor

At just under 6000sq m the Pak 'n Save isn't large but will have some state-of-the-art features.

Work is finishing on the new alcohol-free 5997sq m Pak 'n Save Westgate, one of the biggest buildings to rise in the new $1 billion town centre on Auckland's northwestern edge.

Angela Bull, Foodstuffs North Island property development manager, said the store by Mason & Wales Architects would open on November 4, a year after work started.

It stands on a corner site between Don Buck Rd Extension, Fred Taylor Drive and the newly formed Rua Rd.

Because the asset - worth about $30 million and owned by the Foodstuffs National Trading Company - is in the Waitakere Licensing Trust area, it must remain dry, along with Foodstuffs' Pak 'n Saves at Mt Albert and Lincoln Rd and the New Lynn New World.

The Pak 'n Save was built by Naylor Love and site manager Ben Cockcroft, formerly of Dominion Constructors and Mainzeal, who said the spring start sped the job up.

"It's been a dream run with the site works and foundations," he said of initial works.

At the northern end of the new Westgate town centre a new Mitre 10 Mega, owned by NZ Retail Property Group, is nearly finished and scheduled to open at Labour weekend.

Bull said around 30,000 customers would visit Pak 'n Save Westgate each week, about 1.5 million annually. "For us this is a sub-regional centre, drawing from the wider catchment including Massey and Hobsonville," she said, pointing out the new store was much smaller than Lincoln Rd Pak 'n Save at around 9000sq m.

The store has a number of innovations including a cut-through aisle for shoppers on quick visits, high windows on the northern and southern walls, skylights and energy-efficient lighting.

Extensive earthworks to remove more than 7000cu m created a level platform for the two-storey structure and most of the 291 carparks are in the basement. Twin lifts have been built large enough to take shopper trolleys and a fuel station has been developed on the northern edge of the site.

Lance Gerlach, the new operator, said the store would employ 180 people. Bull said he had previously operated New World New Lynn.

The Foodstuffs co-operative owns most of its properties, compared to rival Progressive which leases most of its stores.

Racking or shelving is almost all installed and banks of chillers and freezers are in place, but glazing is yet to be installed in the big open northern front of the store.

"These supermarkets are not simple to build - I'm told they're as complex as hospitals or prisons," Bull said, explaining how the refrigeration systems are state-of-the-art CO2 gas which save energy.

Progressive isn't missing out on cashing in at Westgate: two Countdowns will soon stand just 500m or so apart - one of the best indicators, says Progressive property manager Adrian Walker, of growth and demand for new stores throughout New Zealand.

DNZ Property Group's new mall in Rua Rd will house a new Countdown.