Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Sultan puts BNZ tower on block

The BNZ Tower in Queen St, Auckland could be converted into apartments. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey
The BNZ Tower in Queen St, Auckland could be converted into apartments. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey

The Sultan of Brunei is negotiating to sell an office block to Robert Holden's Conrad Properties in the latest in a series of deals sweeping Auckland and Wellington worth about $450 million.

The deal, which is some weeks from settling, could see the ex-BNZ block at 125 Queen converted into apartments.

Real estate agent Graham Wall said the property was under contract.

BNZ left the block, which is now substantially empty, and moved to 80 Queen St, but Foodstuffs Auckland created a New World Metro in its basement.

Chris Dibble, associate research director at Jones Lang LaSalle, said the deal was the latest of many.

"The commercial real estate investment sector is on fire as another major transaction is announced in a matter of weeks," Dibble said.

"Telecom Centre on Victoria St in Auckland, Bowen Campus in Wellington, Beca House in Auckland and now 125 Queen St are under due diligence or unconditional.

These assets have a combined value of around $450 million," he said.

"The assets vary across a number of styles, size, quality, age, building design, future proofing and location, but they all have a single common denominator: investors are keen to unlock their potential."

Capital that has been looking for a home is flowing strongly back into commercial real estate, Dibble said.

"Commercial property continues to enlist enquiry as investors move away from equities and other asset classes as fixed asset increases become a strong focus for investors across the globe," he said.

"These transactions, once transacted provide solid evidence that the market upturn is well on its way," Dibble said.

"Once all of the transactions conclude and pass the rigorous levels of due diligence that is required in today's market this may lead to one of the strongest years of commercial real estate transactions, which have been depressed since 2008."

Jones Lang LaSalle predicted approximately $1.5 billion of commercial (office, retail and industrial) real estate at more than $5 million would transact in 2012, compared to $1.1 billion in 2008.

- NZ Herald

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