Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

News Release


Sweet opportunity for experienced café operator

JLL sourcing experienced operator for new Chelsea Bay Café



Long term investment with development potential/new-zealand/en-gb/news/916/long-term-investment-with-development-potentialAUCKLANDLong term investment with development potential
Former Fire Station on high profile corner site/new-zealand/en-gb/news/915/former-fire-station-on-high-profile-corner-siteCHRISTCHURCHFormer Fire Station on high profile corner site

Chelsea Bay artist impression (cafe 1) small-min.jpgJLL is working with the New Zealand Sugar Company Limited to find a sweet operator for their new café, part of ‘Chelsea Bay’, a brand new visitor experience centre.  ‘Chelsea Bay’ also includes an informative factory tour, an interactive educational exhibit, and baking school at their iconic, Birkenhead site.  ​

No building has ever been quite as fascinating as the big pink sugar factory on the edge of the harbour in Auckland’s Birkenhead.   Having been known as the Chelsea Sugar factory since its inception in 1884, NZ Sugar is on track to open its doors to the public next year, inviting them in to experience a live sugar factory in operation. 

‘Chelsea Bay’ construction is underway with the café space due to open in April 2018.   Visitor numbers to the centre are expected to total around 50,000 per year. The population of Auckland is forecast to grow by at least 44% between 2016 and 2043, which could also add to visitor numbers to Chelsea Bay. 

By partnering with Goodman Fielder, whose iconic brands include Edmonds and Meadow Fresh, Chelsea Bay is destined to become the home of kiwi baking.   The café is expected to feature the Chelsea, Edmonds and Meadowfresh brands in the delicious baked goods on offer.  

JLL National Director of Retail Chris Beasleigh says, “Due to the large volume of numbers expected, our goal is to locate an experienced operator to run the Chelsea Bay Café. Obviously it helps if this operator loves baking!

“The intention is for the café to be a fun, open and relaxed location for visitors, with indoor, outdoor flow and will be located right on the water’s edge next to the soon to be built playground area.

“There are currently 41 primary schools within a five kilometre radius of the site, which is indication that many visitors will be families with young children. We envisage the café with the playground right next to it and the sea views from the café will create an idyllic location for families.” 

Tourists spent a total of $7,951 million in Auckland for the year ending August 2017 and it is expected that Chelsea Bay will also become a popular destination for tourists, which will allow the new café operator to capture some of this market share. 

“NZ Sugar has been working closely with the Auckland City Council and Auckland Transport, to ensure opportunities are maximised to make Chelsea Bay a really special development and destination for tourists and the public,” explains Beasleigh. 

The site is located approximately 18 minutes drive from Auckland CBD and is easily accessed via the Northern Motorway or by the Birkenhead Ferry, with the ferry running every 30 minutes during peak periods and every hour thereafter. The ferry terminal is a nine-minute walk from Chelsea Bay.

With Chelsea Bay being in such a central Auckland location, it is no surprise that there are an estimated 700,000 residents within a 30-minute drive from the site. This is something that the team at NZ Sugar has taken into account. 

“Parking has been well catered for with 30-40 car parks allocated for visitor use during the week, and the entire Chelsea Bay car park of up to 120 spaces available on weekends.

“The café operator will surely find themselves very busy if the car park is full on weekends. Also, it must be considered that during weekdays buses of tourists may also be present so the operator will need to be ready for such occurrences,” Beasleigh adds.  

The neighbouring Chelsea Estate Heritage Park is a very popular spot for locals walking and exercising their dogs, so strong café patronage is anticipated from the locals, who will be expecting great food and coffee.  This new development, particularly the area where the café is located, will open up a section of the foreshore to the public for the very first time.  

Additional café patronage will also be generated from the other areas of Chelsea Bay, in particular the historically hugely popular factory tours, and the educational interactive area. 

NZ Sugar General Manager, Bernard Duignan says, “We’re bringing back the Chelsea Sugar factory tours, which will give children and adults alike the chance to see up close, a successful, sustainable manufacturing business. Effectively the paddock-to-plate experience, helping visitors to understand where sugar and flour, both important food sources, come from, and how they are made.” ​

Managing Director of Goodman Fielder NZ Ltd, Tim Deane comments, “Edmonds has a proud history in delivering New Zealanders quality baking ingredients for generations, and we are incredibly excited to continue this journey in a partnership with Chelsea, which will inspire future generations to get involved in baking.”