For almost two decades now Albany has been heralded as the future epicentre of Auckland's bustling North Shore.
Now, at last, the dramatic population predictions for the area seem to be coming true: growth rates in Albany are well ahead of projections for both the Auckland region and the North Shore.
Rapid development and low commercial vacancy rates reflect demand among occupiers for premises in the suburb.
Colliers International's latest research shows 2.9 per cent vacancy rate across office property in Albany; under 2 per cent vacancy across industrial property.
To say Albany has become the darling of Auckland property investors is possibly an understatement; the sheer scale of this "new town" makes it unique nationally.
Certainly Colliers is taking an inordinate pleasure in marketing eight new units in a retail development there.
Each one of these is complete with established tenants on long-term leases.
The units are in a 1119sq m retail complex on a 3867sq m site at 252 Oteha Valley Rd and they are being marketed by Shoneet Chand and Matt Prentice. They are for sale individually by auction at 11am on April 27 at Colliers' auction rooms at 151 Queen St, unless sold prior.
Major owners and developers have recognised potential for further commercial development in the Albany Basin, based on expected future population growth.
"There's significant retirement, residential and commercial development underway," Prentice points out.
"Higher-density housing is planned for Albany City with 4000 people likely to be living there by 2021 and more than 15,000 people projected to be working within the area by then."
The surrounding area has been designed to include a variety of living, employment, commercial, retail, community, civic and recreation environments.
"Motorway access, dedicated bus lanes and the large Park & Ride bus terminal further enhances the area's accessibility for commuters and shoppers - making it an attractive location for businesses."
Chand says the eight investment units are in one of Auckland's fastest-growing commercial locations - alongside international-brand chains such as KFC and Carl's Jr, as well as key amenities such as the Albany Park & Ride and Caltex service station.
"Given low interest rates and a number of positive economic conditions, it is the perfect time for investors to look at including commercial property as part of their portfolio. These offerings represent ideal passive or 'bottom-drawer' investment opportunities for all investors.
"This is because of their location, the strength of the tenant covenants - including established national brands on long-term leases - and quality of the newly constructed buildings, reducing the likelihood of maintenance issues."
Developed by established development company Aubrey Edward Group, the recently-completed units range in size from 76.5sq m to 252sq m, with net rentals per annum from $41,000 to $80,000, Chand says.
"Tenants include Liquor King - a division of Lion Liquor Retail Ltd, owned and managed by Lion, with over 39 stores nationwide, from Kaitaia to Dunedin.
"Other tenants include established companies Bodyworks, Daruma Sushi, Green Bay Fruit & Vege, Zambrero, Sunrise Bakery, Pizza Express and Shenyang BBQ.
"All tenants are on six to 10-year leases, with rights of renewal and strong rental growth, built-in guarantees and hard ratchet clauses, which means rent shall not reduce on review."
The units sit right in the centre of Albany City, a high-growth area which is currently experiencing significant commercial and residential development, Prentice says.
"Expected population growth rates in Albany are significantly ahead of projections for both the Auckland region and the North Shore. Higher-density housing is planned for Albany City, with 4000 people likely to be living there by 2021, and more than 15,000 people projected to be working within the area by then."
The surrounding area includes living, employment, commercial, retail, community, civic and recreation environments.
"Distinctive high quality urban design is provided for, including a 'green network' to create an attractive urban environment." Overall, the Albany area has quickly become a proven and strong business location, say the men from Colliers.
Assets with investor appeal
These include Albany's burgeoning retail outlets and distribution centres of course. But it is also worth noting that "New Albany" is built around something far more well-established, the nucleus of the old Albany Village, long a service centre in its own right. Though much could be written about the area's ability to pull in shoppers from south and west Auckland and its growing apartment accommodation, two assets really do stand out.
• North Harbour Stadium (QBE Stadium) was opened in 1997, after nearly a decade of discussion, planning and construction. It has a capacity of 25,000. Rugby union, soccer and rugby league are played on the main ground and the neighbouring oval hosts major cricket and AFL NZ football matches. The stadium also hosts large open-air concerts.Lit by four 45-metre tall light towers, this stadium is home to the New Zealand Knights soccer team and also hosts an annual Auckland Blues home game in Super Rugby annually. The New Zealand Warriors NRL team often play warm-up matches at the ground.
• Massey Albany Campus which hasgrown rapidly since 1993. Four out of the university's five colleges are based there - the College of Health, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Sciences and the Massey Business School. The campus has about 7000 students enrolled. Many live in campus accommodation or nearby apartment buildings. Many are international students, attracted by world leading programmes such as business, food technology, finance, natural sciences, public health, psychology and education (teaching). Under its Grow North initiative, Massey plans to significantly increase enrolments at the campus, targeting 10,000 equivalent full-time students by 2025.