A two-year-old modern office complex on freehold land in the central business district of Whakatane CBD will go under the hammer next month.

The two-storey, 800sq m building at 5 Louvain St sits on a 1012sq m freehold site occupied by Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance (EBPHA) which has a long-term lease expiring in 2031. Louvain St runs off Commerce St - the main arterial route into the town's business district.

Featured in Bayleys' latest Total Property portfolio magazine, the property is being marketed by Rhys Mischefski and Larissa Reid of Bayleys Whakatane, and will be sold at an auction commencing at 1pm on Wednesday May 15.

Mischefski says interest in the building is expected to be intense as CBD freehold properties in the town are few and far between and don't come for sale often.

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"Most of the town's main business district is leasehold land - with Whakatāne District Council owning 131 perpetually-renewable leasehold properties, most of which are endowment land from harbour or riverbed reclamation," he says.

"When freehold central business district properties do come on to the market they are quickly snapped up."

Built by G&T Family Trust to the latest building standards, the premises has been designed so it can be split into multi-tenancies over an expansive floor area if required at any stage in the future.

"The property is one of Whakatane's CBD's newest constructions, and encompasses an extensive, high quality fit-out including a polished concrete block feature wall. It has a Whakatane District Council capital value rating of $2.5 million," Mischefski says.

EBPHA has an initial six-year lease paying net rent of $168,000 per annum, with four two-year rights of renewal. The organisation is funded by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board for the provision of essential primary health care services in Whakatane, Opotiki, Kawerau and surrounding communities through general practices, community health workers and sub-contracted health professionals.

Mischefski said other features within the premises include:

• multiple spacious offices, common areas and service amenities;

• internal stair and lift access to provide for multiple tenancies; and

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• 14 road-frontage on-site car parks.

Reid says Whakatane has about 10 years' of planning growth ahead of it in the commercial property market.

"The outlook for the town is positive. With national retailers looking for property, a lot of money has already been invested and there is a substantial amount of residential land coming on stream," she says.

"There is a noticeable trend of people moving from Tauranga because land is cheaper here. Whakatane is the largest urban area in the Eastern Bay of Plenty - with a population of just over 15,000 and has substantial capacity for growth.

"It is also handily located less than 100km from Bay of Plenty's two largest cities – Tauranga and Rotorua."

Mischefski says that since 2002, a moratorium has been in place to prevent the sale of leasehold land in Whakatane town centre. As part of the CBD's growth plans, Whakatāne District Council asked for public submissions two years ago on a proposed freeholding policy of its leasehold land in the town's central business district.

"This policy was developed to provide a process by which the freeholding of individual leases can be considered, on a case-by-case basis. Councillors voted to put the policy on hold until council staff produced a sustainable and defined set of investment criteria for any future freeholding proceeds," he says.

"The work is to ensure sound investment decisions are made by the council, while enabling the realisation of economic development, social and cultural goals within the Whakatāne Town Centre. There is no automatic right of freeholding of leases.

"The moratorium will continue the general prohibition of land sales, unless a compelling case can be presented to show that such a sale could significantly benefit the community by achieving an attractive and vibrant town centre; or demonstrate economic development opportunities which could not be realised if freehold land was not available; along with enhanced environmental, social and cultural values and other benefits the council decides are relevant."