By Colin Taylor
A central Wellington motel complex, with 'grandstand' views over one of New Zealand's oldest and most revered test cricketing venues, has been placed on the market for sale as a business within leased premises.
"The Marksman Motor Inn is immediately across the road from the Basin Reserve - the only cricket ground in New Zealand to have Historic Places Category II status," says Carolyn Hanson, a tourism and hospitality sales specialist with Bayleys Real Estate.
Hanson is marketing the business at 40-44 Sussex St for sale by deadline private treaty with offers closing on Friday August 18.
Located two kilometres south of the Wellington CBD near the base of Mount Victoria, the Marksman Motor Inn encompasses 19 units in a configuration of studio, one and two-bedroom suites. Nightly rack-rates range from $135 for the studio units up to $190 for the two-bedroom suites.
In the year to March 2017, the property operated an occupancy rate of 72 per cent - well ahead of the industry average for Wellington of around 61.5 per cent. The property has a Four-Star rating under the Qualmark accreditation programme.
Hanson say commercial accommodation providers in Wellington benefit from a high degree of corporate activity and complementary leisure attractions - enabling them to target two different customer segments according to the time of the week.
The resulting increase in business from dual customer sources has seen the Marksman Motor Inn's sales revenues increase by 23 per cent over the past four financial years. Concurrently, the business's profits have grown by 63 per cent over the same period.
The Marksman Motor Inn was built in the 1990s on about 1068sq m of land occupied by the accommodation units and 14 car parks. All rooms in the property contain standard motel amenities - such as microwaves, fridges, tea and coffee making facilities, heaters and queen-size beds.
Hanson says the Marksman Motor Inn business still has 21 years left on its operating lease, currently paying an annual lease of $245,998 with options to extend the timeframe out further.
A three-bedroom owner or manager's dwelling within the premises is included in the business sale.
"The Marksman's owners have operated a programme of ongoing maintenance and refurbishment on the motel's inventory of fittings and chattels - enabling room rates to regularly rise above the rate of inflation," Hanson says.
"Similarly, the building's exterior and grounds have been kept in immaculate condition to reflect the professional presence of the property. In a calculated value-add proposition, the Marksman's guest car parking spaces are wider than other standard motel properties - which allows 'tradie' utes and vans to be easily located outside the units."
Government figures show Wellington is the fourth biggest commercial accommodation market in New Zealand by guest nights - coming in behind Auckland, Canterbury and Queenstown, Hanson says.
"A very limited occupancy capacity among Wellington's bigger, branded hotels in the CBD has kept room rates at premium levels for some years now. For the Marksman Motor Inn and its city-fringe location, this has meant a growing number of independent business travellers taking advantage of the lower room rates throughout the week.
"Building on the price-point appeal, the Marksman benefits from being situated directly on the main arterial route linking Wellington airport with the CBD.
"The business has also profited from Wellington City Council's highly-proactive tourism and visitor growth strategies which have broadened out the city's appeal.
"Wellington's leisure traveller focused events calendar, under the 'Positively Wellington' banner now offers drawcards to a multitude of audiences. These include the long-running World of Wearable Arts; involvement with major sporting tours like the rugby and cricket world cups and the recent Lions tour; comedy and film festivals; Beervana, and the regularly rotated exhibitions at Te Papa Museum."
A 2016 Tourism Infrastructure report by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment highlighted that motels were the second biggest commercial accommodation provider type in New Zealand, coming in behind hotels.