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Landmark Raglan property goes under the hammer

Tags: Commercial Hamilton

A high profile waterfront property at the end of Raglan’s main street which has been a pivotal part of the town’s commercial and social life for the past 150 years is up for sale fully leased to the Orca Restaurant and Bar and four smaller tenants.


Located on a 736 sq m triangular site at the juncture of three streets, with views across the harbour and out to the Raglan bar, the property has been a natural focal point of activity in town since a general store was first established on the land back in the 1860s, says Bayley Waikato’s Alex ten Hove. He is marketing the property, featured in Bayleys’ latest national Total Property portfolio, with colleague Mike Swanson.

The general store, along with a number of other surrounding wooden buildings, was burnt down at the turn of the 20th century. It was replaced by the second Royal Hotel but that too burnt down in 1930. The site is probably best known as home to the Centennial Milk Bar and adjoining cabaret which opened in 1955. 

The milk bar, famous for its fish and chips, was a meeting place for teenagers during the day while the cabaret building, complete with dance floor and stage, became the centre of Raglan’s night life and was a popular venue for touring bands.

In the 1970s and 80s it became Seagulls Restaurant. In 2008, the current owners completely renovated the building for the Orca Restaurant, joining the two buildings together as well as a adding a deck offering outdoor dining overlooking the harbour.

The land and the 338sq m building on it, which are owned by a group of Waikato and Bay of Plenty investors, will go up for auction on December 8 at Bayleys’ Hamilton office unless sold prior. The property located at 2 Wallis St with frontages also to Cliff Street and Bow street, Raglan’s main street, is currently generating total net annual rental income of $134,044.

The restaurant occupies the bulk of the building, with its current lease running until the end of 2019 with one further four-year right of renewal. There are four small character shops with frontage to Wallis street and direct access also to the main street, which include a florist, a tattooist, a book shop and a barber. The tattooist premises also has a small one bedroom upstairs apartment.

“The property’s busy corner location near the water’s edge is a major attraction for tenants and is reflected in the fact that it is fully tenanted with a solid leasing history,” says ten Hove. “The main tenant has traded successfully for a number of years and appears to enjoy excellent trade particularly during the packed summer season.”

He says the property is zoned Business Commercial (Waikato) which could potentially allow for a three-level mixed used development, with lower level retailing and residential accommodation above. This could possibly either be added to the existing structure or incorporated into a new build.

“To take advantage of both the main street waterfront location and superb harbour views,  the vendors had planned to develop the property into a mix of six retail tenancies and six residential apartments with 11 carparks and had preliminary concept plans drawn up with a view to  obtaining the necessary consents to do this.   However, their priorities have changed and they are now offering the next owner the opportunity to activate these plans or implement their own ideas for the property,’’ says ten Hove.

“It’s quite a unique proposition to have such a flexible zoning as this in a waterfront location in a provincial town. Commercial property in Raglan is also very tightly held so it’s a rare combination which is attracting interest not only from within the Waikato but also from investors in Auckland and the Bay of Plenty looking for properties with add value potential.”

Mike Swanson says Raglan’s growing popularity as a visitor destination over the last 10 years has seen the evolution of an eclectic mix of surf, fashion, arts and crafts, jewellery and gift shops plus a wide range of food and beverage premises that provide a village alternative to the packaged city retail experience.

“With its seaside surfing and harbour setting, Raglan provides something that can’t be matched by sterile shopping malls and draws hordes of visitors and customers, particularly at the weekends and over the summer holiday period when the population swells by 300-400 per cent.

“Being only 46 kilometres from Hamilton,  an increasing number of  permanent residents now also chose to live in Raglan and commute to work in Hamilton, drawn by the town’s attractive property prices and the lifestyle.”

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