New Bayleys' portfolio contains CBD icons

By Colin Taylor

Two big stand-alone commercial buildings and a hotel restaurant are among a wide variety of Auckland CBD properties on Bayleys' latest Total Property portfolio.

The portfolio features more than 130 commercial and industrial properties from around New Zealand, with offerings for investors, owner occupiers and developers.

The offerings include a restaurant in one of the city's landmark buildings, the former Farmers Department store building in Hobson St, now home to the Heritage Hotel.

Hectors Restaurant is located off the hotel lobby and reception area in a specially created atrium carved through the centre of the building when Symphony Group converted it to a hotel in the mid 1990s.

The restaurant and its kitchen take up about 515sq m of floor space at the base of the seven-level atrium that rises though the hotel structure and is covered with a glass roof.

Bayleys Real Estate senior broker James Chan, who is marketing the restaurant with Quinn Ngo, says the atrium with its matrix-like seismic steel brace frames is a key feature of the hotel and the restaurant. It also provides rooms in the centre of the hotel with light and an outlook over the restaurant below.

The Farmers department store was built in the 1920s and its original features were retained in the conversion, including native timber floors and joinery.

The restaurant has polished matai floors, timber louvres and a jarrah bar and takes its name from the legendary cockatoo, Hector, which used to entertain Farmers' shoppers and tea room guests.

Hectors, which can cater for up to 120 diners, is the main restaurant for the 467-room Heritage but also caters for casual diners.

It has a 20-year lease from 1998, with rights of renewal for a further 30 years, to the Heritage Hotel Auckland Ltd, a subsidiary of Dynasty Hotel Group which operates the Heritage and CityLife chains in New Zealand.

The lease now produces net annual rental income of close to $160,000 with the next rent review in August next.

Chan says this puts it within reach of smaller to medium sized investors. These types of investments, with a long lease to a well-established national tenant, are hard to come by, particularly in the popular sub-$2 million sector.

Its Hong Kong-based owner bought it six years ago, and has put it up for sale by private treaty closing on December 7.

Chan, with Lyle Flood of Bayleys' Takapuna office, is marketing another distinctive CBD property, the Choice Plaza Building built in the late 1980s in Wellesley St.

Previously known as the Orient Tower, it was designed by Auckland architect Ron Sang and was based on a traditional Chinese pagoda style.

The 2717sq m building is on a 330sq m site on the corner of Wellesley St and Lorne St, next to the Auckland Art Gallery. It has five retail outlets on the ground floor and the Nol Bu Ne Korean Restaurant occupies Levels 1 and 2.

Chan says a substantial sum has been spent on a recent upgrade of the building and the conversion of levels 3-7 from student to backpacker accommodation. Each floor has a country theme, incorporating murals, and has approximately 32 beds in five rooms. The top three floors provide longer stay hostel accommodation and a manager's flat.

The building is being offered for sale with one head lease in place covering all the tenancies running for 10 years from November 2006, with two ten-year rights of renewal. It produces net annual rental of $720,000.

The Choice Plaza Building is owned by a family trust and is being put up for sale by international tender closing on December 7.

Also for sale is a 16-level recently renovated office building at 7 City Rd on the Symonds St Ridge providing expansive views of the city and Auckland Harbour.

There are four levels of secure undercover parking with 132 carparks and 12 levels of office space with a net lettable area of 6500sq m.

Bayleys' Jack Downer, who is marketing the property with Sue Collins, says the building has just undergone a major refurbishment including an upgrade of the exterior, refurbishment of lifts and re-carpeting of office floors.

Downer says this has attracted a mix of good quality tenants to the building predominantly on six and nine-year leases. The property produces net annual rental income of about $1.685 million and is up for sale by international tender, closing December 7.

Other standalone buildings and individual floors in character buildings in Auckland are also on sale.

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