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Land and buildings for sale in emerging food research hub

Tags: Commercial

A substantial block of land and buildings in the heart of what is being developed as New Zealand’s foremost agricultural plant and food research hub have been placed on the market for sale.

The 1.87-hectare block is located at the heart of a future national Food Research & Development hub “FoodHQ”. This includes facilities being jointly developed in Palmerston North by Crown research agency AgResearch and Massey University, with dairy production and marketing giant Fonterra as an anchor corporate neighbor in the immediate location.

Among the 5,500 square metres of building infrastructure on the site for sale at Dairy Farm Road is the former National Controlled Environment Laboratories, glasshouses with potting sheds, various implement and equipment storage sheds and a records storage block.

Construction of the buildings dates back to the 1960s, with some built in the 1970s.

Most of the buildings are now obsolete - making redevelopment of the site likely for tenants to benefit from the unique Food HQ location.

Many of the buildings on the Dairy Farm Road block were previously occupied by fellow Crown research agency Plant & Food Research - the New Zealand-based science entity providing research and development in the fruit, vegetable, crop and food product sectors.

Fonterra leases the implement and equipment storage shed on a month-to-month basis. while two major telecommunications firms lease space for their cell phone towers with leases running through to 2031 and 2037. Total rental from the site is approximately $33,000 p.a. um.

Plant & Food Research consolidated into its newer facilities immediately adjacent in 2013. The land within the Dairy Farm Road property up for sale, is zoned under the highly-specialised Institutional category in Palmerston North City Council’s plan.

Now the freehold property at Dairy Farm Road has been placed on the market for sale by tender through Bayleys Palmerston North, with tenders closing at 4pm on June 20. The property features in Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio magazine.

Bayleys Palmerston North salesperson Karl Cameron said that with the core of the FoodHQ complex now expanding, the Dairy Farm Road site was ideal for a new tenant / owner to ‘piggy-back’ off the specialist tenancies occupying space in the agricultural, horticultural and pastoral research hub.

“The long-term vision of FoodHQ is to develop a fully-integrated ‘supercampus’ - with participants including Fonterra’s research centre, two Crown Research Institutes, Massey University, and food science research entity The Riddet Institute,” Mr Cameron said.

“When completed, the ‘supercampus’ will give local and international customers of New Zealand food and agricultural products access to the what will be world-class food-focused innovation, product research and development, technology, and commercial expertise… all built on multiple pillars of academic research.

“The synergy running through all entities currently operating within FoodHQ is to add value to New Zealand’s food chain – from the seeds and plants we are growing, or the animals which feed on what comes out of the ground, through to how primary produce is harvested, handled, processed and delivered.”

Mr Cameron said that with income-generating leases in place, any new owner of Dairy Farm Road property would have a small holding income in place while plans were submitted to Palmerston North City Council for the construction of new purpose-built premises.

“It’s fair to say that most of the buildings within the Dairy Farm Road block for sale are well past their useful use-by dates, and have low seismic ( NBS ) ratings. The most likely and efficient future for this site is to undergo a total redevelopment with purpose-built design and build buildings that would benefit from the special location and add value to the super campus ideal,” he said.

“Tenancy opportunities for any resulting new building configuration on the Dairy Farm Road block could stretch far beyond companies simply involved in food production research. They could possibly encompass food marketing and packaging firms, food manufacturing and processing equipment enterprises, or seed and vine planting equipment businesses.”

Mr Cameron said that with multiple entry and exit points off both Dairy Farm Road and Batchelar Road, the site could be subdivided into smaller plot sizes.

“The existing buildings have largely had there day. The value of this exciting site is the large land holding in this very special location which is almost impossible to replicate,” Mr Cameron said.

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