A two-storey character building opposite the entrance to Rotorua’ s most iconic tourism attraction Whakarewarewa – The Living Maori Village - has been placed on the market for sale.
Right in the cultural heart of Rotorua, the property borders the geothermal reserve of Whakarewarewa - home to some 500 hot springs and 65 geyser vents set amongst sinter terraces and pools.
Formerly the busy ‘Little Village Backpackers’, the property sits on a 688sqm freehold site and has most recently operated as two separate retail areas on the ground floor, with the first floor serving as a restaurant.
The commercial retail building on Tryon Street in Whakarewarewa, just seven minutes drive south of the Rotorua CBD, is to be sold by Bayleys at an auction on Thursday May 14. The building features in Bayleys’ Total Property portfolio magazine.
Bayleys Rotorua salesperson Mark Slade says the building is in a prime location to draw in business from tourists visiting the popular thermal village next door.
“The potential is there to tap into an existing stream of tourists by transforming this into something like a boutique café and coffee bar, or by following the path already paved by the previous occupiers who ran a budget accommodation business,” Mr Slade said.
The Rotorua Tourism 2014 Year Snapshot shows a total of 3.2 million visitor nights were enjoyed by tourists in the region, with 226,000 spent in backpacker accommodation.
Domestic visitors made up 60 percent of accommodation customers, with Australians, Chinese and US tourists making up the majority of overseas visitors.
Mr Slade said the average length of stay was 2.3 nights and accommodation providers had, on average, 44 percent occupancy over the course of last year.
“Tourism in this area is not as seasonally affected as other destinations around the country and can form a reliable income base for local ventures,” he said.
Travellers have voted Rotorua number two in the top 10 places to visit in New Zealand, according to leading travel website TripAdvisor. Tourism is the region’s largest employer and the Rotorua District Council has set a target of reaching a total of $1 billion in annual visitor spend by the year 2030.
The region has enjoyed five consecutive months of positive growth in visitor spend, with the total expenditure coming to $468 million in 2014, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
International and domestic spend is almost equal, with the majority of tourist
dollars going towards food and beverage, followed closely by tourism products and retail.
“For potential buyers, it is worth noting these trends to see how this investment property could capitalise on areas of growth,” Mr Slade said.
“Given the current set up of the building, including commercial kitchen facilities, it is well positioned to cater to what is clearly a high demand for food and beverage.”
The building has an Initial Evaluation Procedure (IEP) rating of 70 percent of New Building Standard (NBS) and is estimated to have been built in 1972.
It is zoned ‘Resort C’ in an urban area according to the Rotorua District Council, which provides for its previous and suggested uses.
The area of Whakarewarewa was first occupied around the year 1325 and was the site of the Maori fortress Te Puia, revered as an impenetrable stronghold never once conquered in battle.
“The level of growth experienced across the region is expected to continue given the encouraging rise in international visitors entering the country. Now looks to be a good time get into the industry,” Mr Slade said.