Retail leasing specialists have just been appointed to find new tenants for the ex-Topshop and Topman premises - one of Auckland's most prominent shop sites which commanded an annual rent of about $1.3 rent million a year.
Specialist retail leasing agents Nathan Male and Jarred Dons of Metro Commercial
and Colliers retail director Nilesh Patel now have signs up on the Victoria St and Queen St window facades of the big shop premises.
Male originally leased the premises to Topshop three years ago and said at the time that Queen St was getting significant retailers and that heavyweights like Topshop would add critical mass to the area and firmly cement it as the youth fashion precinct of the city, he said.
Leasing appointments are understood to have been made on Friday.
Insiders say the only takers will be other high-end fashion brands, or the ex-Topshop premises could be split into far smaller tenancies.
That would potentially result in the leasing bringing in a far higher sum than Topshop was paying building owners Tan Chee Hoe & Sons from Singapore which one specialist said was around $1.3m a year.
Tan Chee Hoe & Sons also owns Auckland's West Plaza Building on Albert Street, 180 Molesworth Street in Wellington and is the majority shareholder in the Singapore-listed Hotel Grand Central.
Through another company, Hotel Grand Central owns and operates Hotel Grand Chancellor in central Auckland, Hotel Grand Chancellor Auckland Airport and the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor in Wellington.
Patel said today no information memorandum was available and he was consulting Top Retail's receivers before he could release any information. He could not say if $1.3m or more was being sought.
McGrathNicol's Conor McElhinney and Kare Johnstone were appointed receivers to Top Retail on September 7. They are yet to issue their first report.
The basement, ground and first floors of 203 Queen St are being leased beneath the 12-storey office building, sold to the Singaporeans for $44m in 2013.
Topshop had 1273sq m, paying around $1000/sq m for the space, sources said.
Although Topshop's removable fixtures have now gone, extensive and valuable fit-out features remain. These include lighting, air conditioning, ceilings and wall furnishings. Other fashion retailers could move into the areas, change very little and take advantage of these assets, the specialist said today.
The premises were unsuitable for commercial or office tenants because they were far too valuable, he said. Before Topshop leased the premises, the ANZ Bank occupied that site opposite Farmers.
QV details show 203 Queen St was valued at $23m in July 2011: $16.7m for the building constructed around 1960 and $6.3m for the site.
Asked for leasing information, Kare Johnston said interested parties had signed confidentiality agreements.
"The lease with the landlord and Top Retail was for a 10 year term with two renewals of five years each. The lease can either be assigned or a new lease entered into with the landlord. If anyone has any interest in leasing the site they should contact the receivers or one of the agents," Johnston said.