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A property which dates back to the early 20th century in Devonport Village’s main Victoria Rd retail strip is up for sale for the first time in nearly 40 years.

The fully leased 443 sq m retail, residential and office building on a 371 sq m site at 69-71 Victoria Rd, Devonport is among a range of commercial and industrial offerings which will feature in Bayleys’ next Total Property auction April 11, unless sold prior to that date.

The ornate character premises were originally built in the early 1900s and added to in the late 1980s by the current owner the Devonport United Friendly Society. The property is being marketed by Adam Curtis, Adam Watton and Nick Howe-Smith of Bayleys North Shore Commercial.

Curtis says 69-71 Victoria Rd will provide the next owner with net annual rental income of $143,650 and a good spread of tenancy risk across the retail, hospitality, office and residential sectors, with a variety of lease terms, renewals and expiry dates. Final expiry dates on the leases range from 2024 to 2028.

He says the property’s Town Centre zoning under the Auckland Unitary Plan permits a wide range of commercial and residential uses. The section of Victoria Rd the property is located in has a heritage overlay which protects the building’s street front façade and there is a height limit of nine metres.

Curtis says longer term, it might be possible to add further value to the property by refurbishing and expanding the two floors at the back of the building into two separate residential units, subject to obtaining the necessary council consents.

“The rear of the building has sweeping views across the harbour to the CBD and Sky Tower and is located on a quiet laneway. This makes this part of the property ideal for residential use which Auckland Council is keen to encourage to add diversity to town centres.”

The Devonport United Friendly Society, established in 1924, purchased the property in 1978. It was one of many friendly societies set up before the advent of the welfare state in New Zealand to help members and their families in times of illness and death.

A two-level extension was added to the rear of the building in 1988 which is currently used as office space and as a flat. A service lane provides access to the rear of the building as well as four parallel car parks.

Part of the ground floor which was renovated and converted into a restaurant has been occupied for over 20 years by Thai eatery Monsoon which also leases the flat. The balance of the ground floor is leased to longstanding clothing and accessories retailer Yarntons which has been in business for over 60 years.

It has expanded from its nearby store at 79 Victoria St and opened up a separate women’s shop at 69 Victoria St. The building’s third tenant Brolly Sheets, which specialises in waterproof bed linen that it sells in the US, UK and Australia as well as New Zealand, leases upper level office accommodation at the rear of the building for its head office.

Devonport United Friendly Society secretary Maurice Handisides says the building has always been fully tenanted in the four decades that the society has owned it.

“It’s located on the popular western side of Victoria St between the wharf and Fleet St which has the highest pedestrian counts in the village and therefore the lowest vacancy rate.”

He says a decision has been made to sell the property because of the increasing age of a declining number of society members. The sale proceeds will be go to the four lodges which make up the Devonport United Friendly Society, for distribution to their members according to their constitutions.

Adam Watton says Devonport village has recently benefitted from a $24 million transformation project by Auckland Council which has included the construction of a new library, the refurbishment of Devonport Wharf and the addition of a new boardwalk plus an upgrade of Marine Square from a car park to into open public space that has become an integral part of Devonport Village’s new gateway.

“People coming out of the ferry terminal now walk directly across the square to Victoria Street providing a much improved connection between the waterfront and the main street’s eclectic mix of retailers and hospitality outlets,” says Watton.

Extensive work on the Devonport Wharf has included a new roof and flooring, the opening of Devon on the Wharf, a substantial restaurant and café, and the addition of a number of new smaller retail outlets which are nearing completion.

“The eastern side of the wharf is being transformed into a significant public place on the water’s edge, with space for outside dining and for people to gather,” says Watton. “This should mean Devonport will continue to grow in popularity as a go-to destination for Aucklanders and visitors alike.”

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