Paul Charman

A beautifully restored historic six-level office building in the midst of Auckland's luxury hotel precinct, is for sale by tender.

The 115-year-old Achilles House, which sustains ground-level shops at the corner of Customs St East and Commerce St, is being marketed by Bruce Whillans and Henry Thompson, of Whillans Realty Group.

Tenders are to close at 4pm on November 27.


The fully-leased 3900sq m property returns net income of $2.5 million — about 38 per cent of this coming from retail tenants, says Thompson.

"It was built in 1903 as a kauri gum trading post for L D Nathan & Co and original features have been meticulously restored, including polished kauri flooring and exposed timber columns.

"Office floors are all about 660sq m, and feature 2.9m stud-heights. There is an abundance of natural light with some tenancies having glimpses of the Waitemata Harbour.

"The top floor, with its exposed timber framing and skylights, delivers some of the most exceptional character office space in the city."

"The restoration includes a marble entrance foyer, new passenger lift, HVAC, and a new roof."

Whillans describes the building as holding the pole position in downtown Auckland.

"The immediate area is undergoing a major urban transformation, putting Achilles House in the centre of Auckland's up and coming luxury retail-five-star hotel precinct.

"More than $5 billion of public and private infrastructure projects are under way within 200m of Achilles House. This urban regeneration will drive future rental growth, supporting high occupancy levels within Achilles House."


Thompson says all the ground floor retail tenancies are subject to an early termination clause in favour of the landlord. "This enables investors to redevelop the entire ground floor into a new flagship retail store.

"There is also potential to convert the first floor offices into retail space under the same early termination provision. Multi-level retail is an established format overseas and we are now seeing this trend emerge with the arrival of global luxury brands in downtown Auckland."

He says construction near the historic building seems to be reaching fever pitch.

●Accor is to open a new 130-room Sofitel So Hotel, just adjacent to Achilles House next year.

●The Cooper and Company's 99-room, 5-Star Hotel on the corner of Customs and Gore Streets (to be managed by international hoteliers TFE Hotels) opens in 2020.

●Rising rapidly right alongside Achilles House is the widely anticipated 57-story, Pacifica Apartment Tower, which is due for completion in late 2020, ahead of both the America's Cup and APEC Summit. This will sustain a boutique 5-star hotel across six floors, plus 295 apartments.

Whillans says a series of laneways — formed by Snickel Lane, Fort Lane and Imperial Lane — provide Achilles House with convenient access to Queen St.

"These thriving pedestrian thoroughfares offer an array of retail and hospitality options in the city including the Jefferson and Sid Sahrawat's Cassia," he says.

"With the opening of Pacifica in 2020, the laneways will extend to Gore St. In 2022, Precinct Properties is to open a 244 room Intercontinental Hotel at 1 Queen St and China Construction is building New Zealand's tallest apartment tower just a block east of Achilles House on the corner of Customs St East and Gore St."

He says Achilles House is less than two minutes' walk from the Britomart train station and the ferry terminal.

"The completion of the new underground Central Rail Link is scheduled for 2023 and it will double the capacity of the existing rail network," says Whillans.

"This will halve commuting times for people living in the western suburbs and Achilles House will be less than 100 metres from one of the city's busiest underground train stations.

In addition, there are six major public car parking buildings all within a 250 metre radius.

"Pedestrian foot traffic is increasing in-line with growing resident and office worker populations.

"A booming cruise ship industry, growing general tourism and continued hotel-room expansion, is bringing crowds to the CBD and raising retail spending there."