Fonterra's former regional milk powder distribution centre in Napier, one of Hawke's Bay's biggest warehousing complexes, has been placed on the market for sale or lease.

Fonterra occupied the complex from the mid-2000s until earlier this year, when it moved its activity to Tauranga.

The 18,431sq m complex sits on 2.69ha of land in the industrial suburb of Pandora, adjoining the railway on Pandora Rd. It has a 7000sq m yard, offices and car parking.

Its owner, NZX-listed property investment company Argosy, is seeking an annual rent of $1.17 million plus GST.


Valuer Andrew White of My Valuer is familiar with the property because it is situated opposite his offices on Pandora Rd.

He said the rent sought appeared high for Napier industrial property, especially with a stud height of 4.9m and many internal columns.

"When businesses are looking at big distribution warehouses like this, they want to be able to go up 7m to 10m with no studs," he said.

His offices are on the former site of large-format retailer Bunnings, along with Big Save Furniture.

Bunnings closed its Napier operation and is actively seeking a new site.

Mr White said the stud height would be problematic for retailers such as Bunnings because they liked to store excess stock above the retail floor. The property is being marketed by Bayleys, Harcourts and Colliers International.

Bayleys agent Rollo Vavasour said architectural plans were available for a potential subdivision into two stand-alone warehouses of 8100sq m and 8420sq m " each with office space and separated by a 12m access road on to Tyne St.

He said while dairy production faced challenges other primary sectors were firmly in growth mode.

"As a consequence, we expect the slack left by the Fonterra vacancy to be picked up by another primary sector-related exporter," he said.

"Alternatively, the substantial warehousing capability could be utilised by a logistics or freight-forwarding business. The complex benefits from being handily positioned within the city's port zone, yet just 3km from the CBD and close to a main arterial route."

The 1980s building was well maintained and in a "turnkey" state with air-conditioned offices.

"With a corporate landlord managing the property on behalf of a corporate client, the maintenance schedule of the building has been of a consistently high standard - encompassing such projects as a recent refurbishment of the roof, upgrading the office amenities, and the addition of a new external canopy.

"These attributes would prove equally attractive for any new tenant, with Argosy openly prepared to discuss the potential of relocation assistance and further office reconfiguration if required."

Colliers director Cam Ward said there was a growing demand for large storage options in Hawke's Bay, so interested parties should take the opportunity to present offers.

Mr White said the property was very well located and "a little bit unique in this area because it is freehold".

"We look across the road and try to think what it could be used for."