Freehold warehouse and office units are for sale 'off the plan' within a new development comprising 26 two-storey units expected to be completed this time next year in Auckland's industrial heart of Onehunga.
The units comprise a new commercial hub, aptly named Woollen Mills, which is being built on a 2.8ha site formerly housing the Cavalier Bremworth Woollen Mills. Acknowledging the site's historic heritage, the architecturally striking building fronting Neilson St will have angled saw-toothed roofing replicating the appearance of the original buildings.
"Construction of Woollen Mills is already well advanced," says Scott Campbell of Bayleys Real Estate who, with colleagues Sunil Bhana, James Hill and James Valintine, is marketing the units at 273 Neilson St for sale on a 'first come, first served' basis.
"With equity-funding there is no requirement for any pre-sales levels to be achieved," Campbell says.
Featured in Bayleys' latest Total Property portfolio magazine, the new unit-titled concrete and Colorsteel terraced office and warehouse properties vary in size from 371sq m to 1021sq m.
Campbell says each unit comes with its own staff and customer allocated car parking area – ranging from five vehicle spaces for the smaller units up to 18 car parks for the bigger sites.
"Dedicated container set down areas have also been planned for each unit," he says.
The flat site has six street access points, including Captain Springs Rd and Angle St, via monitored security gates. It is located between two major motorways – with State Highway 1 just 2km to the East giving access to both North and South Auckland; and SH20 only 1km away to the West providing connections to West Auckland and the Auckland CBD via the Waterview Tunnel.
Campbell says Auckland's residential property market is trading through a relatively flat phase in terms of both capital growth and rental yields. So, the sale of the Woollen Mills' units offers entry-level investment opportunities for intending new entrants into the commercial and industrial sector.
Hill says the smaller-sized units will be perfectly suited to purchase by either owner-occupiers or investors.
"The medium and larger-sized units could work for the likes of open-plan service operations supported by on-site design and build activities – such as custom-made kitchen or bathroom manufacturers, bespoke furniture traders, or warehousing and distribution of small goods," he says.
Valintine says all units within Woollen Mills are being sold with stylish open-plan office fit-outs on both levels. All units will also have their own air conditioning, staff bathroom, shower, and kitchenette amenities.
"The warehouse units are being built in two parallel rows separated by a wide central access yard laneway with extra wide roller door access to the warehouses; and stud heights ranging from 6.5m to 9.8m," he says.
"The two levels of office space have been designed with floor-to-ceiling glass windows on the commercial portion of each unit - allowing for maximum light flow and consequential energy efficiency with stud heights ranging between 2.6m and 3m on each office level."
Valintine predicts that, with industrial property vacancy rates in Penrose hovering at around 0.96 per cent and little development of new premises coming on line in the foreseeable future, the 26 units will most likely be sold out in advance of their completion.
Bhana says many recent commercial developments in Auckland are only available for lease, but the Woollen Mills will allow owner-occupiers and investors the chance to purchase new premises at a strategic location.
He says the design of the complex has been well thought out. "They are fully functional industrial units that will raise the standards bar in terms of their build specifications."
The Woollen Mills site is being developed by Auckland property investment and development firm Triumph Capital which has undertaken recent construction projects like the redevelopment of a chic 4000sq m office block at 22 Pollen St in Ponsonby; and at 68 Sale St in Auckland's Victoria Quarter which delivered a stylish 2150sq m office venue with dual street frontages.
Triumph Capital developer Tim Wilson says the ethos behind Woollen Mills is to produce a quality product which the Auckland market has never seen before, while also showing respect to the location's heritage.
The original Onehunga Woollen Mills were established at the address in 1886 to manufacture woollen cloth and were among 10 large-scale woollen mills operating throughout New Zealand.
Campbell says the original Onehunga Woollen Mills were a pioneering industry during their era. "So too, will the Woollen Mills commercial hub rejuvenate this precinct by attracting more than 20 new tenancies to the area through redevelopment of an under-utilised land asset," he says.
Campbell says one of the units offered for sale is a heritage brick building that was part of the original Woollen Mills plant last century.
"It's anticipated that a food or hospitality operation will sign up to provide a service from this property; and that it will be up and running well ahead of all the surrounding tenancies moving in. We see this venue becoming a 'local' for employers and employees occupying the Woollen Mills units over the subsequent months," he says
The positioning of Woollen Mills close to the wharf anchorage at Onehunga reinforced the district's early importance as Auckland's West Coast port and a centre of heavy industry. Cloth from the mills was used to make uniforms worn by Kiwi soldiers in World War I.
The Onehunga Woollen Mills' importance to New Zealand's domestic war efforts was highlighted in 1917 when the business applied to the Ministry of Defence to exempt employee William Freeman from conscripted military service. The mill argued that, as the company's only dyer engaged in an essential industry, Freeman could not be replaced – with any potential replacement taking up to five years to train.