Bringing together the largest concentration of high quality retail, food and beverage offerings in the city of Auckland – including an expansive food hall, luxury hotel and the striking new PwC Tower – Commercial Bay promises to be the most transformational project Auckland has ever seen, however it’s official restaurant and foodhall opening day, which was scheduled for March 28, has been postponed.
Instead the proprietors of Commercial Bay have expressed their disappointment at the COVID -19 impact.
“When the Government first placed restrictions on gatherings we felt it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to promote an opening day. The subsequent announcement of placing the country in lockdown was unquestionably the right course of action, and the health and safety of our communities continues to be an absolute priority for us.
“However, to say we are disappointed is an understatement. We have an amazing group of retailers and hospitality providers – their fit outs are done, their menus are printed, their stock has been ordered – their incredible visions and dreams are so close to being a reality.”
Work on the internationally-inspired development, including Harbour Eats, the Level Two food hall with stunning harbour views and design, started three years ago when development owners Precinct Properties enlisted New York-based AvroKO Hospitality Group along with Auckland-based Izzard Design to bring their vision for Commercial Bay alive.
“Commercial Bay will shake up the hospitality scene and Harbour Eats, designed by AvroKO, has reimagined the food hall experience which promises to be a magnet for foodies,” says Precinct Properties CEO Scott Pritchard.
Headlining AvroKO’s debut at Commercial Bay’s Level Six hospitality space are international favourites Ghost Donkey and Poni Rood, both tipped to open at the end of March; and the group’s flagship restaurant Saxon + Parole along with cocktail bar Liquorette will be ready for the crowds in May.
Stellar Chef Line Up
Matt Lambert, the Kiwi-born, New York-based chef of Musket Roof fame joins Commercial Bay’s stellar line-up with The Lodge Bar. An impressive turnout of leading local chefs, local favourites and emerging talent are definitely among the mix as well.
For several years now, Izzard Design has been taking hospitality venues in New Zealand to a whole new level by changing the way people experience dining: Recent acclaimed projects include the Newmarket Westfield Rooftop, The Goodside and Auckland Fish Market. The rooftop bar at the Four Points Sheraton Auckland, The Churchill, is another head turner from Izzard Design – and secured a Finalist nod at the Australasian Eat Drink Design Awards 2019.
“Hospitality operators used to simply open a restaurant and do their thing,” Izzard says. “But I don’t think that’s enough anymore. Customers are more discerning these days and there’s a lot of competition. With your brand or story you can’t just tick one box, you need to tick them all.”
Multiple venue developments that bring operators together under the one roof are definitely ticking all the boxes. At Harbour Eats, featuring 29 individual operators, visitors will experience a look and feel that celebrates the essence of New Zealand. Iconic landscapes and origin and legacy stories have inspired the unique features, design elements and natural earthy materials intrinsic to the project.
“Experiences for diners are becoming more important in the hospitality space,” says Izzard. “Like the retail sector, hospitality is having to adapt and attract customers who want more when they go out. We don’t go out because we’re hungry, we go out because we want to be entertained and at Harbour Eats, people will experience all the activity, drama and honesty of their food being cooked right in front of them.
Consistent Kitchen Design Fit Out
“Precincts are more affordable options for operators. Customers can pick up their own food, which keeps staff costs down and customers enjoy more affordable choice. Precinct Properties has been really clever; as well as inviting known industry talent to Harbour Eats, they’ve brought through gifted food truck chefs and market stall holders with artisan, bespoke offerings and given them access to an established venue with a dining potential of 30,000 people. Previously they wouldn’t have had that opportunity and they don’t have to worry about staff and fit outs.”