Mark Knoff-Thomas on 2020 in Newmarket

I’d thought I’d take this opportunity to provide a general update on Newmarket, as so much has been happening, and 2020 will certainly go down as one of the more memorable years!


Up until lockdown ‘2.0’ the precinct had been trading very well. In “normal” conditions we have daily transactions totalling around $1.6-1.7million, this of course nose-dived during Alert Level 4, and was only marginally better during Alert Level 3. Our retail sector is pretty resilient and many operate successful omni-channel businesses. We did however suffer a few casualities along the way this year. COVID has seriously knocked the hospitality sector in particular, and even under Level 3 conditions – which allow deliveries and click and collect – it is very challenging.

Despite the media’s fascination with a cluster of For Lease signs on Broadway, leasing overall has been surprisingly buoyant. Broadway has been going through a transitionary phase that commenced before COVID started to impact us – the full recovery will be a marathon not a sprint, but it is making positive progress. It’s fair to say confidence in retail leasing across the board has taken a hit. We do have quite a number of new brands moving onto Broadway, including at the iconic sites at the entrance to Teed Street, and surrounding side streets. There are also some brands relocating their stores within the precinct to make way for new developments. Speaking of which, we have a new apartment development in Kingdon Street, Fiore5, that is selling now. Ramada Newmarket Residences on Gillies Ave is down to a handful still for sale – this is set for completion in Q2 2021. These two developments sit alongside a total of 754 apartment units that are in the pipeline for Newmarket. As Auckland intensifies, metro-town centre living is increasingly appealing. As far as town centres go Newmarket is so well served for transport links, entertainment, shopping, hospitality and health clubs – we expect the apartment trend to gather further momentum.

We are delighted to once again, with the support of the Waitemata Local Board, and the hard work of the Dante Alighieri Society, to bring you the Italian Festival. It’s a bit later than usual this year – on Sunday 8th November. It is the largest Italian Festival in New Zealand and attracts over 20,000 visitors to Osborne and Kent Streets, Lumsden Green and surrounding streets and is an event not to be missed.

In art news you may have noticed that Terry Stringer’s ‘The World Grasped’ sculpture, that used to reside outside Smith & Caughey’s has now been relocated, rather majestically, at the Olympic Park roundabout. We are still working with Auckland Council on timeframes for the reinstatement of Ray Haydon’s stunning piece ‘Heliograph’ that was damaged on Teed Street; and finally we are currently working with, via the Newmarket Arts Trust, Paul Hartigan, for a new work in neon for Broadway. Watch this space!

We’re also very much looking forward to the delayed opening of Westfield’s luxury mall in 2021 – there is a lot to be excited about. All in all there is plenty going on.

We thank you for your support of our businesses – it is much appreciated. Small business, in particular is the backbone of our economy, and is at the very heart of our communities. We hope to continue to give you many, many reasons to keep coming to Newmarket.

Stay safe.

Mark Knoff-Thomas
CEO, Newmarket Business Association

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