Land and buildings in Mt Wellington housing the headquarters of home building supplies retailer PlaceMakers have been placed on the market for sale.
The property has been operating as a commercial office premises since its construction in the early 1970s but, subject to council consent, there is considerable potential to "reinvigorate its use" as a healthcare or education facility, says Stephen Scott of Bayleys Auckland.
In conjunction with colleagues James Valintine and Scott Campbell, Scott is marketing 150 Marua Rd for sale by tenders closing at 4pm on December 7.
Scott says a potential change of use could be driven by the steady population growth in the surrounding residential suburbs of Stonefields, Panmure, Ellerslie, and Mt Wellington.
Located on the border of Mt Wellington and Ellerslie, the property encompasses 3392sq m of campus-like commercial premises spread over eight split levels, and occupying 10,498sq m of freehold land.
Scott says the building, with a 159m frontage onto Marua Rd, was originally designed for aggregates and building supply company, Winstones, which operated a nearby quarry that has since been redeveloped as the residential enclave of Stonefields.
"At its peak, the Marua Rd building was home to about 300 administrative staff," he says.
"At the time of opening in 1973, the Marua Road office space design was considered to be 'greenie' and 'radical' because it featured staff health and wellbeing amenities. These included a squash court and gymnasium, with the various building wings constructed around a central Japanese-themed garden containing a sunken koi carp fish pond surrounded by Zen-inspired shrubbery.
"With covered walkways linking up the various levels of commercial spaces, the complex was designed without any elevators - thereby encouraging staff to exercise and walk up stairwells contained in large concrete towers at the end of each wing."
He says the lease of 150 Marua Rd expires in June next year and requires PlaceMakers to pay a pro-rata annual rental of $561,627 plus GST.
"The two development opportunity themes of 'education' and 'healthcare' have come through clearly for future uses of the site - with the two sectors racing to keep pace with the area's surge in resident numbers over the past decade," Scott says.
"Both state sector and private primary, intermediate, and secondary schools are struggling to provide more and more classroom space to take on their growing role numbers, driven by housing intensification in Central East Auckland.
"This has seen numerous schools cannibalise 'greenfield' grassed playing fields, add additional storeys on top of existing classroom blocks and structures, or take on and reconfigure adjacent commercial space to provide new campus space in their catchment areas.
"With multiple access points, and a modular style interior layout already replicating a tertiary education facility, the property at 150 Marua Rd could easily be converted into a standalone teaching location as an adjunct to existing classrooms," Scott says.
"The building complex is in a condition which would be expected of structures built some 44 years ago. While structurally sound and with a new building standard rating of 68 per cent, the buildings would benefit from a refurbishment and modernisation to increase their efficiency and functionality."
Valintine says the modular style interior lay-out of the property, with its various interlinked wings and multiple 'zones,' has also been identified as suitable for remodelling into a one-stop medical services hub - with a wide range of various healthcare practices operating complementary to each other.
"Such a shared-premises model could see the likes of a radiology clinic, chiropractic practitioner, orthopaedic clinic, optometrists, physiotherapist's studio, dental clinic, audiology clinic, pharmacy, general practitioner, and blood testing laboratory; all providing their medical and healthcare services under one roof," Valintine says.
"From this perspective, one of the big attractions of the property in its current format is the 166 allocated car parks available on site and three separate vehicle entry points - that could be used for a docking bay suitable for receiving ambulance patients.
"Being located immediately next door to Ryman Healthcare's expansive Sir Edmund Hillary retirement village, with several hundred residents aged 65-plus, there is an obvious target market for clientele who would use such a facility," says Valintine.
He notes that Auckland Council's current Light Industry zoning for the Marua Rd property allows for activities which do not generate objectionable odour, dust or noise emissions.