A popular waterside workers’ drinking hole, union headquarters and one of the first venues of its type in New Zealand, is available for lease.
The central Auckland character building with a rich maritime history is located at 68 Anzac Avenue and has been home to the Auckland Maritime Club for three decades. It has retained several of its original features including heavy copper front doors, an exposed interior brick wall and wooden beams, concrete pillars, large copper lights and porthole windows, creating an authentic maritime and industrial feel.
For the first time, the licensed premise operating as a bar is available for lease. It is being marketed by Bayleys Auckland Central salesperson Sarah Boles. The property has an asking net annual rental of $69,800 plus GST and is available from September 2015.
The Maritime Club opened more than 30 years ago when the premise was bought by the waterside workers’ rugby league side. Then it was one of the first sports clubs in the country to be granted a chartered licence, allowing the sale of liquor to members on site, and remains one of the few clubs with such a licence in Central Auckland.
“When the rugby club later dissolved, Anzac Avenue remained a popular watering hole for waterfront workers who came in for a drink at lunch time and after work. The club had a register of more than 900 members at its peak,” said Ms Boles.
Waterside and industrial unions have also held their meetings at the club for 35 years - with the property also hosting international union representatives, politicians, and sports stars including New Zealand rugby league players, boxers and members of the Australian Bulldogs rugby league team.
However, changes in New Zealand’s drinking culture, the introduction of shift work at the port and workplace health and safety regulations have had an effect on club patronage.
“In the ‘80s and ‘90s dockside workers would come and have a pint at lunchtime or after work. However, the number of workers has decreased dramatically. This, coupled with changes to their working hours, and a national change drinking patterns, has seen membership to the Maritime Club and other clubs drop.”
Constructed in 1915, the 320sqm property features a covered deck and is located in a high-density area of the central city providing an immediate network of potential customers, said Ms Boles.
“Ideally located in the eastern CBD fringe, the premise is surrounded by a large number of apartments and offices, in an area hugely lacking in good quality food and beverage options. “In addition, it is within walking distance of Auckland University, Vector Arena, cruise ships, Britomart, Queen St and Auckland Port - which has historically been a strong customer base. An experienced hospitality operator could do very well by capitalising on these opportunities,” she said.
“It’s an ideal offering for such a tenant, who could simply move in and establish their business in a building already fit for purpose.”
The premise is 270sqm inside with main and wheelchair entrances. The bar area features tables, seating, and two gaming machines. There is also an office with safe, kitchen and chiller, toilets, and storage space. The bar opens onto a 50sqm, sunny, north-facing deck at the rear of the building with seating and views to the port and harbour. The property also includes a parking space for one car beside the entrance.
Chattels available with the lease, include tables, chairs, couches, bar stools, outdoor furniture, a large walk-in chiller and the bar fit out. A tenant would also have the option of continuing the licence of two gaming machines already on-site.
Ms Boles said “The property numerous opportunities for a tenant to develop the existing site and tailor it to their own business”.
“The kitchen could be extended to cater for a full meal service. There are several entrances to the building, including the street-front loading bay, which could be converted into a takeaway or ‘hole-in-the-wall’ food operation off the main restaurant to cater to passing foot traffic.”
The property’s position provided a ready-made customer base from a highly convenient location, said Ms Boles.
“Auckland’s CBD has long been a great place to do business with 27,000 residents, 90,000 workers and 12,000 tourists coming into the city every day, along with 60,000 tertiary students providing a bright future as the city grows. International visitors to the city spend an estimated $4.5 billion a year in the city,” she said.
Statistics New Zealand predicts the Auckland region will be home to almost two million people by 2031 and the CBD will continue to have the highest population density in New Zealand, increasing from 4600 people per square kilometer to possibly more than 13,300 people per square kilometer by 2031.
“This property offers an astute food and beverage operator the opportunity to secure an attractive piece of commercial real estate in is an extremely convenient city location,” said Ms Boles.