A multimillionaire Auckland property investor has bought New Zealand's flagship Bunnings Warehouse Westgate and two big supermarkets, properties collectively valued at more than $100 million.
New Zealand's biggest Bunnings which is 15,000sq m and opened in July at Westgate as well as Countdowns in Wellington and Orewa were sold to the investor who has an ever-expanding Australasian portfolio.
Ben Cook of Viaduct Harbour-headquartered Cook Property Group told the Herald today he had bought the properties.
Cook declined to say how much he paid, explaining that he had entered commercially confidential agreements and was bound by them. However, market sources confirmed Bunnings Westgate had a market value of around $70m, Countdown Orewa around $30m and Countdown Aotea about $18m.
On top of all this, Cook had bought Countdown Howick is July. That property is understood to be valued at around $25m. In addition, he already owns Bunnings stores in Sydney and Grey Lynn.
The deals are some of New Zealand's largest retail property transactions, however Cook has a substantial pre existing large format retail portfolio including Bunnings Grey Lynn and Bunnings Eastgardens in Sydney.
"I purchased Countdown Orewa and Countdown Aotea Wellington a few weeks ago. These properties were sold by Woolworths NZ and marketed to the public via Bayleys. I was the successful purchaser," Cook said.
"I will be holding these properties long term, in line with my usual investment modus operandi," he said.
"I also purchased the recently-opened Bunnings Westgate store, which is the flagship store in New Zealand for Bunnings. This new property joins my existing Bunnings portfolio: Bunnings Grey Lynn and Bunnings Eastgardens in Sydney - the flagship store in Sydney," he said.
All up, the three Countdowns which Cook bought lately in Howick, Orewa and Wellington as well as Bunnings Westgate are valued at $143m.
That does not include the valuation on Sydney's flagship Bunnings store nor the Bunnings Grey Lynn which Cook Property Group also owns. Cook bought Bunnings Grey Lynn in 2017.
Bunnings Westgate is a two-level building with 327 ground-level carparks and four separate ground-floor shops, to be leased to other businesses.
Bunnings Eastgardens is a 14,700sq m store on 2.3ha site, leased long term.
Bayleys said the two Countdown supermarkets were on freehold land, with new initial 10-year leasebacks to Countdown with rights of renewals to potentially extend occupation till 2080. The properties were offered individually and collectively.
"They have a combined gross lettable area of 6875sq m and a total net income in excess of $2m annually," marketing said. The supermarkets were sold by Woolworths NZ, part of the Australian-owned and listed supermarket business, which owns the Countdown branded supermarkets here.
The properties return more than $2m annual rent and were sold via a tender which closed last month.
Five years ago, Cook set New Zealand's house price record when he bought a landmark Herne Bay home for $24m. He purchased a large grey minimalist three-level house from endoscopic surgeon John Dunn and his wife, Rose.
In Australia, Cook Property also owns a boutique retail strip of 15 shops in Sydney's Bondi with 19 underground carparks as well as the big Entrada Shopping Centre in Sydney's Parramatta.
In Auckland, Cook has properties around the Britomart area, on Shortland St, in Takapuna and the former Ponsonby Post Office as well as a big Auckland carparking block.