A former Auckland convent described last year by councillor Mike Lee as "a slum in the heart of the city", has sold for $4.1 million.

The 1626sq m site at 454 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn, with a 1922 Spanish Mission style building, generated annual holding income of about $336,440 gross from 30 residential tenancies and was sold through Bayleys Auckland City & Fringe.

Auckland Council last year served health notices on the then owner who was given a month to fumigate the building, and arrange for cleaning and repairs.

About 20 tenants lived in the boarding house at that time.


Council inspectors saw a rat and took note of rotted cupboards in the kitchen and bathroom of the two-storey building, next to St Joseph's primary school.

The Herald reported in March last year that the property had attracted real estate offers of more than $5m.

Lee last year said police were at the boarding house when he had been there. Tenants had reported an altercation between two residents involving a meat cleaver.

Auckland City Mission chief executive Chris Farrelly last year said: "It would be the most unsafe place I could think of. You'd be a lot safer just sitting under a bridge."

"It's appalling, disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. Ghastly. Just the utter filth."

The sale of the place would have "implications", he said, "because when it's sold, we suspect a large number of residents will end up in another form of homelessness without shelter".

The property at 454 Great North Rd has sold for $4.1 million. Photo / Michael Craig
The property at 454 Great North Rd has sold for $4.1 million. Photo / Michael Craig

"Having said that, it is not a satisfactory place. It is sub-standard. We regard people there as being homeless. It's an environment which is not appropriate for people to live in ... We all see people on the streets but that's only 10 per cent of homelessness. The other 90 per cent are in these kind of things, which are not fit for human beings."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern campaigned for the place to be closed down in March last year when she was Labour deputy leader.

"In my view no one should be inhabiting a place that doesn't have basic standards," Ardern said at that time.