Racecourse a good bet for a developer

By Colin Taylor

The 36.8ha Paeroa racecourse site and its 1120sq m grandstand.
The 36.8ha Paeroa racecourse site and its 1120sq m grandstand.

Paeroa's historic racecourse on Thames Rd in the Coromandel town comprising a huge freehold land area in eight titles and several buildings is for sale.

"The freehold land comprises a total area of 36.8435ha and offers huge development potential," says Matt Kirkbride, commercial and industrial agent with Barfoot & Thompson North Shore Commercial.

Kirkbride and colleague Tom Taunt are selling the property by tender, closing February 27 at the agency's Takapuna office, 87 Hurstmere Rd, unless it sells before that date.

"This large property has great residential possibilities and the sale is also a chance for a buyer to purchase their own racing stables. It is just waiting for the right owner to develop," Kirkbride says.

The property has a one-year lease to the Waikato Racing Club commencing August 24, 2012 with one further right of renewal of one year expiring on July 31, 2014, generating annual rent of $68,000 plus GST and operating expenses, excluding insurance.

The racecourse is on the northern outskirts of Paeroa township and occupies an irregular-shaped parcel with a frontage of about 600m to Thames Rd along with additional access from Raroa Rd and Logan Rd.

The zoning is part residential with underlying reserve zone.

The property has gently undulating land next to the road frontage on which the main buildings and the racecourse are situated, with a central grazed area comprising a basin or amphitheatre.

Buildings on the site total about 3700sq m. They include the main grandstand, an ancillary grandstand, a totalisator building and sundry structures.

The main grandstand is a 1124.8sq m concrete building with concrete seating.

The lower level contains the main bar, dining room, kitchen, toilet and shower facilities, offices, jockey facilities and weighing in areas.

The second stand, of 760sq m, is concrete, with bar facilities and toilet facilities beneath.

Other structures on the site include a 228sq m pavilion, stewards' rooms of 104.4sq m, three toilet blocks of 9.84sq m, 36sq m and 36.21m, the older-styled "Tony Richards" building of 318.6sq m, stables of 90sq m and 245sq m, barns of 624sq m and 204sq m, swabbing box of 54sq m and a central tote utility of 202.57sq m.

Taunt says the land behind the racecourse rises steeply and forms part of the hills behind the Paeroa township.

"The Harwood Heights rural residential subdivision is on the northern boundary, made up of generally upmarket dwellings." Taunt says the racecourse has an interesting history.

According to the Ohinemuri Regional Journal published by the Paeroa and District Historical Society, the first official race meeting was held on the site in March 1876 and the first totalisator meeting was held in 1892.

The land was bought by the Ohinemuri Jockey Club from Mr Nat Dickey in 1897. Dickey offered 81 acres (32.7ha) for 1800 ($3600), part in cash and part on mortgage at 6 per cent. It took a year before the club finally took over ownership of Dickey's farm.

In the meantime, it bought a grandstand from Otahuhu and had contractors dismantle the building, load it on a scow and bring it to Paeroa. It was taken to the course and erected ready for the annual meeting in 1897, all in a matter of about two months.

Other small parcels of land around the racecourse were bought over the years as the opportunity arose and added to the property.

The club's patriotism in World War I was illustrated by a resolution pledging the profits from a 1917 meeting to the Patriotic Fund, and in 1937 a donation of 2.2s was made towards the cost of mounting the famous race horse Phar Lap at a museum.

Until 1938, the club held race day permits for two days a year and it was traditional to hold a one-day event on St Patricks Day, March 17, in honour of the patron saint of Ireland - probably because of a strong Irish influence in the Ohinemuri area in those days.

The club erected a new members' grandstand in the 1930s after a storm blew the framework of the first stand down.

A redesigned stand was built by Lee Brothers of Paeroa, and it was enhanced by several additions over the years.

The name of the club was changed to the Paeroa Racing Club in 1971, and the historic main stand was burned to the ground on December 31, 1979, followed by the erection of the current grandstand.

Taunt says Paeroa is an excellent place to invest in property as it is an established town which is the service centre to the nearby farming districts as well as attracting a share of the Coromandel tourist industry.

"It provides a good range of shopping and recreational facilities plus primary and secondary schooling," he says.

- NZ Herald

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