A three-level historic central Auckland building, featuring the ornate 19th century frontage of the city's Freemasons Hall, which was constructed in 1881 for £3500, is being offered for sale as a bare shell ready for interior redevelopment and refurbishment.
"This building with its exquisite and stunning facade is a blank canvas ready for internal fit-out," says Ian Hall, Commercial Sales & Investments Broker with JLL who, with John Binning, Director Commercial Sales and Investments, is marketing 7 Princes St for sale by expressions of interest closing 5pm Thursday June 6 - if not sold earlier.
"Totalling around 843sq m of space over three levels, with 60sq m of deck on Level 2, the property is being offered with vacant possession," Binning says.
"Limited only by the vision of the purchaser, the interior could be designed for owner-occupier use or be tenanted as luxurious offices, showrooms or apartments – or any combination of these uses."
Hall says 7 Princes St was built next to, and at the same time as, The Grand Hotel at 9-11 Princes St, which, as its name indicated, was 'the grandest' hotel of its day from 1889 until 1966, when it was converted to offices.
"Both properties on the northwestern side of Princes St feature spectacular frontages that were described architecturally as 'Corinthian' or 'colonial renaissance ornamental' when they were constructed.
"When the original buildings were both eventually demolished in 1988, their beautiful facades were retained as a new office tower was erected behind and covering the total site. The tower was first occupied by KPMG and then became the Fonterra Centre."
Binning says the former Fonterra Centre is now being converted to a high calibre residential complex called The International that will set a new standard for apartment dwellings in the city.
"This places the property for sale at 7 Princes St in a very strategic position with a prestigious address," he says. "In addition to having The International as its next door neighbour, the Pullman Hotel is directly opposite, across the road, in Waterloo Quadrant. Other near neighbours include the Northern Club and Chancery Square, while Shortland St, which is dominated by the legal fraternity is only about 20m or so from the building's frontage.
"The main University of Auckland campus, the Old Government House Reserve and Albert Park are only a short walk away as are the High Court at the far end of the Waterloo Quadrant, the Britomart transport centre downhill, and the busy Queen St/High St shopping precincts."
Hall says the eastern precinct of Downtown Auckland City "still retains the grandeur of the old city along with superior modern flavours" with 7 Princes St set on a ridge overlooking The Chancery and Shortland St precincts.
He says the property has been resurveyed and a new certificate of title will be issued for a freehold site area of about 325sq m.
"The zoning is Strategic Management Area 5 which permits construction to a maximum height of 50m and a maximum site coverage of six-to-one [6:1] but this is not applicable as property offered will remain at its current height and size," Hall says.
He says 7 Princes St has an Initial Evaluation Procedure (IEP) seismic evaluation and rating of 100 per cent of New Building Standard (NBS).
"The building is being offered for sale on the basis that its exterior and interior specifications and finishes will be of the highest quality," Binning says. "However, the purchaser with have the flexibility to determine both the actual use of the three levels and final fit-out preferences."