Landmark bronzed beauty for sale

By Colin Taylor

The SAP building is more than 99 per cent leased to several major tenants, writes Colin Taylor

Precinct Properties recently completed seismic strengthening works to the building at 151 Queen St in Auckland.
Precinct Properties recently completed seismic strengthening works to the building at 151 Queen St in Auckland.

One of Auckland's most recognised city office towers, the bronze-glazed SAP building at 151 Queen St, is for sale for the first time since 1997.

Strategically located at the corner of Queen and Wyndham Streets the 29-floor building was originally built for Fay Richwhite/NZI and is still often referred to as the Fay Richwhite Building.

"This is a landmark building in the centre of the CBD office precinct," says John Goddard of Colliers International who, with Andrew Reed and Peter Herdson, is selling the building through a national and international campaign and a deadline private treaty closing at 4pm on April 30.

"It is one of the most sought after addresses in Auckland for office accommodation," Goddard says. "The sale of an A-grade office tower in this tightly held core CBD precinct is a rare occurrence. It will allow investors to acquire a prestigious asset on a 2397sq m site comprising a net lettable area of 17,648sq m of office and retail space."

The property also has 313 on-site car parks which cater for current tenant demands and are anticipated to meet future requirements also.

Goddard says Colliers is marketing the property on behalf of New Zealand's leading office property owner, NZX-listed Precinct Properties. "It is more than 99 per cent leased to major corporate tenants and nationally branded retailers, with net passing income of over $7.4 million. This sale is an opportunity for investors to acquire the property at a significant discount to replacement cost, providing excellent prospects for capital gain."

Scott Pritchard, chief executive of Precinct Properties says the company has "long intended to recycle capital from the portfolio to fund our initiatives at Downtown and Wynyard Quarter".

SAP Tower has been owned by Precinct Properties since 1997.

The tower has 22 floors of office space, several levels of parking with 313 on-site secure car parks and a health club. The ground floor retail space is occupied by international outdoor retailer Kathmandu which has 120 stores in New Zealand and is listed on the ASX and NZX.

Several major tenants occupy multiple floors in the building. They include Marsh, an international insurance broker; Colliers International, a global commercial real estate firm; and SAP, a software company operating in more than 130 countries.

Other key tenants include the NZX-listed Goodman Property, law firm Mayne Wetherell, shipping services company China Navigation, and Wilsons Parking.

Reed says the diversification of tenants across the building should attract investors to the broad-based cash flow that benefits from both fixed and market reviews across the leases. The weighted average lease term is about four years.

"Global capital continues to be attracted to assets like 151 Queen Street representing strategic, core investment characteristics," Reed says. "New Zealand remains a very favourable investment environment for international investors."

Herdson says occupiers enjoy expansive views to the northeast and west over the CBD and to the harbour. "The building has flexible floor plates that allow either whole or split floor tenancies in a variety of layouts," he says. "The location, floor layout, car parking ratios and outstanding leisure amenities are the key reasons for the building's sustained tenant attraction."

The building has a visually arresting design that garnered the country's top architectural awards on its completion in 1992: the New Zealand Institute of Architects' Gold Medal and the National Award.

The exterior of the building takes its bronze cast from vertical columns clad in polished Argentinian "Light Red Dragon" granite to the seventh floor, with a tinted laminated glass curtain wall system covering the rest of the building. The facade is modelled with bay windows providing excellent light penetration into the office floors.

The entrance foyer features high-ceiling space surrounded in frameless glass rising 16m above the street level, allowing light to flood the entry way, which is accessed from both Queen St and Wyndham St. The foyer's interior fit out continues the building's colour scheme with the Light Red Dragon granite floors and white New Zealand Kairuru marble columns contrasted with Jarra timber on the wall surfaces.

The concept architect was Dino Burratini who worked with Peddle, Thorp & Aitken. Director of Peddle Thorp, Brian Aitken, describes it as "an iconic building for its time. It involved the first hung glass assembly in New Zealand and the modulation and articulation of the facade set a new benchmark for office accommodation," he says.

When Fay Richwhite sought resource consent in the 1980s for the tower, Jim Chamley, a lawyer in Blackstone Chambers on the opposite side of the road, objected to the project on the grounds that his low-rise building needed "natural light" which would be blocked out by the 29-floor structure.

The historic building at 14 Wyndham St had housed the legal offices of law firm Thorne Thorne White & Clark-Walker for over 90 years when Michael Fay visited Chamley to discuss the issue and, following the meeting, agreed to alter the plaza level of the building to allow Blackstone Chambers to continue to see the sky and bathe in sunlight.

Reed says the building contains some of the best leisure amenities in the CBD which are an attraction for corporate tenants.

The well-appointed privately operated health club includes a gymnasium, outdoor tennis court and a 25m heated swimming pool which offers a remarkable view of the tower above. A cafe is in the foyer and concierge services to the rear.

"It also has a high standard facility fit-out including 11 lifts," Reed says. "Other features include a Siemens-designed building management system providing intelligent control of the air-conditioning system; fire protection and controlled evacuation systems; standby power systems and card-controlled access for security."

He says Precinct Properties recently completed seismic strengthening works to the building resulting in a score of 80 per cent of new building standards (NBS).

"The property is being sold at a time when New Zealand's economic growth is leading the developed world, our population is growing, and office vacancies are hitting long-term lows," Reed says. Reed says the SAP Tower is within a few minutes' walking distance to many of New Zealand's leading businesses, including Deloitte, BNZ, ANZ and the city's harbour and port operations at the base of Queen St.

- NZ Herald

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