A Wellington character property noted for its historic contribution to the Courtenay Place Heritage Area is to be sold by its body corporate owners.
This follows negotiations with the Wellington City Council (WCC) and other parties; and the council now having put a demolition order on the building, which would leave a 475sq m city development site.
A Central Area zoning allows for a wide range of uses, overlaid by the CourtenayPlace Heritage Area guidelines. Potential uses include hotel, hospitality, retail, commercial/office and residential.
The property at 30 Allen St, close to Courtenay Place, comprises a commercial tenancy on the ground level in a former 1920s' warehouse building and 16 residential units above which were constructed circa-1999 and known as the Townsend Apartments.
Mark Walker and Grant Young of Bayleys Wellington are marketing the property by tender, closing at 4pm on Wednesday, September 19, on instruction from the property's body corporate which has unanimously agreed to sell it with vacant possession.
The Council's demolition order on the building is effective within two years, with the front facade possibly needing to be retained due to WCC heritage requirements.
"A developer can buy the land and buildings as is and they will be subject to the WCC demolition order which is in place over the property," says Walker.
"The site has an inherent value given its location close to the Courtenay Place hospitality precinct and the redevelopment that has been undertaken in the immediate area," says Walker.
"There are height restrictions in place, but the property can leverage off air space over the building to the north.
"A forward-thinking developer will recognise the opportunity that this property presents in the current market which is starved of useable land in the city centre."
Allen St and neighbouring Blair St were home to Wellington city's wholesale produce markets from the early-1900s until the early-1990s. The original component of the property for sale has been described as a good representative example of 'an inter-war light industrial warehouse designed in a transitional stripped classical style'.
It was built for Frederick Townsend and James Paul, fruit and produce salesmen whose firm was established in Wellington in 1886.
For around 50 years, the property was occupied by auctioneers D. Bowie & Co. Ltd with warehousing storage and auction room on the ground floor and offices above. The company had an eclectic inventory with one auction offering "sago, tapioca, soap, tea, nuts in bulk and otherwise, Berkel scales, a practically-new Remington cash register, motor delivery vans in splendid order, and one latest 'His Masters Voice' gramophone, with electric attachments".
In later years, the building was home to a hairdressing salon, paper manufacturers, a tanning company, a grocer's shop and the Courtenay Arms Tavern.
When the produce markets were relocated to the northern outskirts of the city around 1993, Blair and Allen Sts were revitalised in to mainly retail and hospitality precincts with character office space on upper levels.
The Allen St building's principal facade is largely unchanged on its lower floors and contributes to the streetscape harking back to the area's role as a former warehouse and trading precinct.
Walker says issues were identified with the building back in 2005 when Weathertight Homes was engaged to evaluate a leaking problem. Subsequent structural problems were then found in 2010 when shoddy workmanship came home to roost.
"In 2010, High Court proceedings were initiated against multiple parties including WCC," says Walker.
"The legal battle ended only recently, with a negotiated settlement to the body corporate by WCC and other parties."