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Newmarket site offers big development opportunity

Tags: Auckland Commercial

Developing a property converted for commercial use much more intensively to provide apartment or terrace housing is one of a number of options open to the next owner of an offering in Newmarket.

The property at 7 Sarawia Street currently comprises a 157 sq m single level building containing character office space on a substantial under-developed 711 sq m freehold land holding.

It is up for tender closing August 31, unless sold prior, through Cameron Melhuish, Scott Kirk and James Were of Bayleys’ Auckland City & Fringe division. They are selling the property on a behalf of its previous owner occupier.

It comes with a vacant building and 17 on-site car parks, five at the front of the building and 12 at the rear. A neighbouring accountancy practice has a monthly lease over the 12 rear car parks at $35.00 per car per week.

“This a unique Newmarket opportunity currently providing versatile office space with loads of car parking,” says Melhuish. “There is huge upside potential to develop the property further at some stage in the future given it is within walking distance of central Newmarket and is double Grammar school zoned.

“For owner occupiers, this well presented office building with its excellent car parking will suit a wide range of businesses. Alternatively, investors could take advantage of the current strength of the office leasing market and secure a tenant for an attractive cash flow.

“However, undoubtedly the property’s biggest attraction lies in the potential it has to be much more intensively developed under both its current and proposed unitary plan zonings. Add value investors and developers could consider adding further floor area or taking advantage of the zoning to undertake a full redevelopment of this sizeable land holding.”

Kirk says the property’s current Residential 8C zoning already permits intensive residential development as is evident from the multi-level apartment buildings either side of it. The zoning of Residential - Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan provides for the greatest density, height and scale of development out of all the plan’s residential zones. Mid-rise, multi-unit residential living is encouraged with buildings up to six storeys (20.5 metres) allowed.

The purpose of the zoning is to increase the supply of housing and ensure that residents have convenient access to services, employment, education facilities, retail and entertainment opportunities as well as public transport.

“A resource consent will be required for more than one dwelling on a site in the zone and a key part of the resource consent process will be to determine if the proposal makes efficient use of the site and achieves quality design outcomes,” says Kirk.

Originally built as two residential flats in the mid-1930s, resource consent was granted in 1999 to convert the property for commercial use. The building was refurbished in 2009 to provide well-appointed offices, says Were. “It is air-conditioned and well-lit throughout and provides predominately open plan offices with a reception, boardroom and separate kitchen, staff lunchroom and bathroom amenities”.

The property is close to Sarawia Street’s intersection with Broadway, George Street and Parnell Road.

“Sarawia Street has a mix of character dwellings, low to medium-rise apartment buildings and more recently built townhouses. It is a pleasant tree-lined street which looks set to become a cul-de-sac following Auckland Council’s approval of the closure of the Sarawia Street-Laxon Terrace railway level crossing. This is being done to improve safety, allow greater frequency of train services and to create a quieter local environment by removing the need for crossing bells,” says Were.

“The property is a short stroll from the heart one of Auckland’s premier shopping and entertainment precincts and is a close to lots of open green space with the Auckland Domain on one side and Newmarket Park on the other.”

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