A late-1800s Victorian building significant for being the oldest intact bank in central Auckland and for the sense of prosperity, industry, and confidence its architecture conveyed, is for sale along with associated buildings.
Most recently home to Auckland’s first-ever McDonald’s store, the former Auckland Savings Bank (ASB) building and the adjacent building at 256-260 Queen Street, plus additional buildings to the rear, are being divested by McDonald’s Restaurants (New Zealand) Limited, with vacant possession.
Variously built in 1884, 1890 and circa-1940, two of the buildings front Queen Street, two have frontage to Lorne Street, while a single-level structure links them all across the 883sqm landholding which lies within the city’s evolving and re-energised midtown precinct.
McDonald’s acquired the site from Kerridge Odeon in 1977, opening the country’s second McDonald’s restaurant in the former banking chamber, and operated for 43 years from the site before relocating further along Queen Street.
The freehold property is being marketed by Layne Harwood, Alan Haydock and Ian Hall of Bayleys Auckland Central, via an expressions of interest campaign closing 4pm, Thursday 29th June.
As one of the few architectural examples of the Victorian period left along the city’s main street and considering the prime inner-city site with favourable usage overlays, Bayleys Auckland Central investment sales director Layne Harwood said there is an exciting opportunity ahead.
“Given the location, scale, zoning and precinct overlays, the highest and best use of the site will be as a redevelopment proposition, retaining the identified and protected heritage features and incorporating them into any new development,” he said.
The original ASB property is classified Historic Heritage B under the Auckland Unitary Plan, with the façade, staircase, internal boardroom, and bank chamber ceiling also protected through a Heritage New Zealand Category 1 classification.
“We expect strong interest from developers with heritage property experience, and buyers who recognise the value of owning this flagship offering, as vacant sites for sale in Queen Street are exceptionally rare, let alone with this property’s history,” said Harwood.
“Any redevelopment will require partial demolition and a carefully managed refurbishment programme that includes seismic upgrades, while meeting the heritage requirements of the Queen Street buildings, in part.”
Harwood said the CBD’s midtown precinct is seeing significant hotel, apartment and commercial development, with its broader regeneration leveraging opportunities provided by the City Rail Link (CRL) project.
“The subject property is very close to the midtown Te Waihorotiu (Aotea) Station, which will have entrances on Victoria Street and Wellesley Street and is expected to be the country’s busiest rail station,” he explained.
“This will provide an anchor to the wider area which is witnessing significant infrastructure investment, public amenity upgrade, and burgeoning hospitality, cultural and entertainment options and it further underpins the intrinsic value of this central Queen Street location.
“In five to 10 years, this part of the CBD will be completely transformed and just as this outstanding building played such a vital role in early Auckland’s commercial evolution, it remains a flagship vestige of the city’s Victorian streetscape and could once again lead the way under a sensitive and astute redevelopment.”
An integrated hotel and apartment complex could be established on the site, incorporating the heritage features for a unique guest or resident experience and tapping into sentiment that supports the preservation of Auckland’s heritage, suggested Harwood.
“There are developers and heritage architects primed for a project such as this and, as the CBD comes back to life after something of a hiatus, the potential for something pretty unique is exciting.
“The property has significant development options with a basic floor area ratio of 13:1, and the Business – City Centre zoning allowing integrated residential development, visitor accommodation, student accommodation, education and tertiary, general office and a range of commercial uses, including hospitality and entertainment.”
The Symphony Centre encompassing office space and apartment living will sit atop the new station at the corner of Mayoral Drive and Wellesley Street, while multiple commercial properties in the midtown Queen Street area have either been or are currently being, refurbished including 203, 228 and 246 Queen Street.
The CRL project has been dubbed a catalyst for change in the CBD and around 800 apartments are expected to be developed over the next few years in the midtown area.