Yesterday at 9am we proudly opened our retail doors to the public.

The opening of the retail spaces at Thirty Eight Elizabeth, which began construction in 2018, marks the start of a new chapter for the CBD.

There’s just over 7000sqm of the 8000sqm retail offering on the ground and Level Two ready for your enjoyment, including the state-of-the-art Farmers store, and Whitcoulls and Pascoes the Jeweller – also located on the ground floor entrance on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Devonport Road.

These iconic New Zealand retail brands are all part of the James Pascoe Group, behind the development as Elizabeth Properties Limited.

“This entrance on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Devonport Road is the gateway to a new fashion and beauty retail experience, one that Tauranga has been waiting for to bring revitalisation to the CBD,” says Thirty Eight Elizabeth Project Manager Brett Nicholls.

“The entire development provides a grand gateway to the CBD, one that celebrates the history and significance of the site for the CBD.”

The Farmers store has been designed and fitted out following on from the brand’s success at Sylvia Park and 277 in Newmarket, Auckland.

“This is a step above,” says Brett. “We always take the shopping experience to the next level when we open a new store.”

A morning karakia (blessing) and ribbon cutting has been held on site to mark theofficial opening, all within the Red Light rules for events. A small group of kaumātua led by Tamati Tata, as well as a limited number of Tauranga City Council commissioners, Farmers managers, and building contractors gathered to celebrate.

“Ngāi Tamarāwaho, the Ngāti Ranginui iwi hapū, whose people traditionally lived in the area, hold the mana whenua for the site, which is at the heart of its rohe,” said kaumātua Buddy Mikaere.

“Ngāi Tamarāwaho has supported this project from the outset and considers that the redevelopment fits with its aspirations for the city centre. Ngāi Tamarāwaho is pleased to see the site being put to useful purpose.”

Brett says he is proud that kaumātua led today’s ceremony and that Ngāi Tamarāwaho has backed the project from the beginning.

“Today marks a very exciting milestone for the project,” he said. “We acknowledge Ngāi Tamarāwaho’s ancestral ties to the site and are working closely with representatives to include design features that reflect this history. The Farmers corner has a long history of retail stretching back to its roots as the Devon Mall in the early 1970s.”

Subway is also open again on site, located on Elizabeth Street close to the laneway that leads to First Avenue. You can access Subway on foot by taking the pedestrian crossing in front of the cinema on the opposite side of the road.

Still to be unveiled are the food and beverage terrace,  and the luxury residential offering of Elizabeth Towers. An artwork and cultural mural created by local Ngāi Tamarāwaho artist, Whare Thompson, will also be revealed. While the exact timings of these stages are still being determined due to the COVID restrictions and shutdowns of last year, all are expected to fall in the first half of 2022. A grand opening will celebrate the development in due course.

“We want the fullness and potential of the entire development to be open and enjoyed as soon as possible. That is why we have put extra resources into the build from the start to bring it to fruition in an ambitious timeframe. We are not far behind schedule considering the number of COVID setbacks our amazing team has had to overcome.”

At peak times over 500 contractors have been involved in the build, injecting significant economic benefit into the local community. Once the build is complete, it will effectively double the residential population in the CBD.

“It is a homecoming for Farmers, which has strong historic ties to the site. We are glad to be ‘home’,” says Brett. “Farmers at The Crossing and Bayfair will remain host to home furnishings, manchester, and homewares. Farmers at Thirty Eight Elizabeth will showcase the best of fashion and beauty.”

Shoppers are expected to flock to the new store. When arriving by car, visitors should enter the four parking levels on First Avenue where they’ll find ample options – 174 carparks, more than double originally on site.

The parking management system will guide shoppers and diners to available spaces and provide easy-to-use technology to obtain three hours of free parking with proof of purchase from any of Thirty Eight Elizabeth’s stores or food and beverage outlets.

By foot, the main entrances will be off Elizabeth Street, or the corner of Devonport Road and First Avenue.

By the middle of the year Picnicka, an exceptional dining experience, is scheduled to open on the all-day sun, North-facing food and beverage terrace – a new cosmopolitan dining experience for Tauranga.

The multi-use development of residential, retail, cafes, and restaurants are part of a global trend towards broadening the experience of shopping. Tauranga is among the first cities in New Zealand to experience this new level of sophistication.

“It’s an exciting idea that has caught on in shopping areas overseas,” Brett says. “People are looking for a whole new experience when they go out. They’re enjoying a quality meal at their shopping destination, rather than eating and shopping separately.”

The residential part, including 23 luxury townhouses and 97 high-end apartments across two towers, all brought together by the spectacular swimming, gym, green space, recreational podium area known as the Sky Garden, will be available for purchase in the first quarter of this year. For pre-sale information people should register their interest on this website – scroll to the form at the bottom of this page.

Read about the opening in the Bay of Plenty Times here.