Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Sultan of Brunei sells BNZ tower for $57m

The BNZ Tower at 125 Queen Street. Photo / Martin Sykes
The BNZ Tower at 125 Queen Street. Photo / Martin Sykes

The Sultan of Brunei has sold Auckland's 26-level BNZ tower at 125 Queen St for $57 million in this year's biggest New Zealand property deal.

The buyer is Special Situations Assets, thought to be registered in Hong Kong and associated with two Kiwis.

Information on Property Guru recorded the sale on April 23.

The Sultan owned the green glass tower for many years but the BNZ moved to 80 Queen St diagonally opposite some years ago.

Agents tried to sell the almost empty tower for an apartment conversion but the CBD is now suffering a critical office space shortage.

The high-rise dating from the 1980s has 18,903sq m of floor area, stands on a 2020sq m freehold site and has 83 carparks but has been almost empty since the anchor tenant left years ago. Foodstuffs established a New World Metro in the ex-foodcourt basement.

The tower is valued at $42 million for rating purposes, made up of $20 million for the building and $22 million for the site, Property Guru showed.

Justin Kean, JLL research and consultancy director, welcomed the transfer of ownership from the Brunei Investment Authority to a locally based ownership vehicle.

"The property is in a good position in Queen St on a high-profile intersection. Any use that activates the property will be good for Queen St and the surrounds," Kean said.

"Best use in the current market is probably for office. Current vacancy rates in prime office space are 1.7 per cent, which is a record low.

"If the new owner were to refurbish and lease the space into this very tight market we would expect to see significant value creation with a lease profile that protects the owner from future downside in the long term," Kean said.

The building needed significant work on lifts, most of the plant and the air conditioning.

- NZ Herald

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