Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Tournament plans retail, showrooms for Rhubarb Lane

Tournament Parking has bought Rhubarb Lane, one of Auckland's largest remaining underdeveloped freehold pieces of land, for an undisclosed price.

James Brown of Tournament said his business had retailing or showroom plans for existing buildings on the 2.8ha site between Sale, Wellesley, Cook and Nelson Sts.

"It's exciting. For us, it's a longterm hold. We have no plans to undertake a big redevelopment. Our plan is to restore the existing buildings and then refurbish them."

Westpac called for the sale of the hillside land which had been owned by Doug Rikard-Bell and his company R L Investments No 2.

The site was Auckland City Council's works department depot and many of the depot's former buildings are still on the site. Brown said Tournament would fix four large buildings there and then lease them.

"It's hard to say the exact use. We are controlled by the district plan but we are looking for good Auckland businesses and there's a group around Sale St and that western side of the city.

"We want to bring more people on to the site so it would be good if we could get businesses for some kind of retailing or showrooms.

Doug was very successful with Shed Five," he said.

Tournament operates 800 carparks on the big site, some casual, some short-term and some on monthly arrangements, Brown said.

"As we move to change the buildings, we'll change the carparking," he said.

At the end of last year, Bayleys had an international marketing campaign to sell the site. Eight tenders came in by the December deadline, Bayleys said.

Chris Dibble, Jones Lang LaSalle's associate director research and consulting, said Tournament's purchase would be good for Auckland.

"It's a positive for the CBD because it's out of the bank's hands and moving into private owners so regardless of whether it's developed now or in 10 years' time, it's better that people can actually work with it rather than being in the bank's hands."

Brown said Tournament operated about 80 carparking buildings nationally, of which 50 are in Auckland and 12 are directly owned by the business.

Tournament has refurbished a historic Newmarket bakery building between Osborne St, Khyber Pass Rd, York St and Kent St.

- NZ Herald

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