The land and buildings housing one of Christchurch’s first independently-owned garden centres and an associated café has been placed on the market for sale.
Portstone Garden Centre at 465 Ferry Road in Woolston has been operating at the site since 1980. Spread over an indoor/outdoor layout, Portstone’s renowned catalogue of stock includes flowers, shrubs and trees, landscaping supplies and garden ornaments, water features, fertiliser and sprays, tools, outdoor furniture, and glasshouses.
The retailing business also operates a 38-seater café overlooking the outdoor plant display areas. Now the 1,160 square metre warehouse-style building on 4,803 square metres of freehold land have been placed on the market for sale by a deadline process through Bayleys Canterbury, with offers closing at 4pm on June 28.
Bayleys Canterbury salesperson Stewart White said the property was being sold as ‘vacant possession’ – with both the garden centre and café moving out in the near future. The property sits on the axis of Ferry Road and Smith Street and is zoned business 1 under Christchurch Council’s planning designations.
“The future of this site really is hard to pick because there are so many flexible pieces with the wider picture – from the current business use or its prominent corner site location, through to changing social dynamics and the impact those are having on society,” Mr White said.
“Most obviously, this property is an opportunity for an existing retail gardening supplies operator in the market to either relocate their existing operations into a well-known purpose-built destination, or for a new entrant into this sector of retailing to establish a garden supplies retailing business entity on the site.”
The Ferry Road buildings are predominantly timber framed based on concrete floors and foundations, with exposed pitched beams and rafters and corrugated iron roofing. The property is surrounded with security fencing, while an expansive tar-sealed car park has parking for approximately 47 vehicles.
“The structural configuration and open-plan lay-out of the building complex means it could also be a turn-key site for a hardware and home building supply outlet – with the potential to quite easily add new warehousing space.”
Mr White said there was also the potential that the site could be redeveloped into a suburban shopping hub – with Ferry Road being the main arterial route linking Christchurch CBD with the city’s south-eastern suburbs of Sumner, Mount Pleasant, Ferrymead, Lyttleton and Woolston.
Land Transport Authority traffic-usage figures show some 23,500 vehicles are driven past the property on an average week day. Many of those are suburban commuters.
“With a growing number of families becoming reliant on the incomes from two working parents to sustain their mortgage, there is often correspondingly less time for such fundamental household chores such as shopping for dinner,” Mr White said.
“Consequently, suburban convenience-focused shopping hubs have sprouted up throughout New Zealand over the past decade – enabling urban dwellers to pull in to their local complex, get a ready-made meal or ingredients for that night’s dinner, along with a bottle of wine or a few beers…. all in one visit.
“It has also been mooted that the location could be transformed into an industrial-themed hospitality hub capable of sustaining between three and five individual outlets operating under one roof,” Mr White said.
Examples of this hub-style configuration include the highly-successful Ponsonby Central hospitality destination in Auckland’s Ponsonby Road, or the recently opened Press Hall in Wellington’s Willi Street, which contains 12 independent eateries.
“The idea behind this clustering of entities is that consumers ‘graze’ at multiple locations during the course of an evening. That is they may start off with a quiet drink at one location and move to another for something to eat as the night continues. Or vice-versa. That way the consumer spread is allotted across multiple venues.”
Mr White said that under this prospect, the substantial Ferry Road site could either be leased to multiple stand-alone food and beverage operators, or sustain one sole-operator creating several uniquely themed non-competing spaces under a ‘one roof’ destination.
Within the complex of building structures is a two-storeyed administration block containing offices, as well as staff bathrooms and kitchen area. The garden centre retailing portion of the complex has a structural rating of 70 percent of New Build Standards, while the café portion of the property has a structural rating of 90 percent of New Build Standards.