Opportunities & options in prime Petone position
West Petone is shaking off its industrial past and offering increasing opportunities for large format retailers and office tenants to make the most of its excellent location close to Wellington harbour and major motorway networks.
Joining the rejuvenation of the gateway to the Hutt Valley is the former IBM Centre on the corner of The Esplanade and Victoria Street, a short stroll from Petone beach. Over 11,000m² of industrial and office space across five buildings will be redeveloped and refurbished to become a noteworthy addition to West Petone’s bulk retail and office environment.
The first building to be given a makeover is IBM’s former Wellington warehouse and distribution centre, more recently occupied by NZ Post’s Datamail subsidiary. Around half of the building is undergoing significant redevelopment for occupation by a Palmers Planet store later this year.
Palmers Planet is a large format new concept store launched in 2012, providing a wide range of home and garden products. In a transaction negotiated by Bayleys’ retail leasing specialist Jim Wana, Palmers has taken a 12-year lease of 1,000m² of internal space plus a 1,000m² external area previously used as a truck bay. This space will be transformed into canopied space for outdoor plants and include a café and customer parking.
The balance of the building, comprising approximately 1,300m2, will also be refurbished to provide another “big box” retail accommodation opportunity with car parking. “We have a proactive landlord who is willing to redevelop the remaining space to suit the requirements of a complementary tenant,” says John Pritchard, who is marketing the offering with Bayleys Wellington colleagues Matt Gibbs and Jim Wana.
“The building has a 12-metre stud which makes it ideal for bulk retail and it will be opened up to provide plenty of natural light. The remaining space for lease also has the same sized outdoor area to the Palmers tenancy and could be used in a similar sort of way.”
There is also currently 5,850m² of commercial space over two levels available in other buildings which overlook The Esplanade and Petone Beach.
“These have very sizeable floor areas and would be ideal for a tenant looking to accommodate all their staff on one level with all the operational efficiencies and collaborative staff benefits that go with that,” says John Pritchard. “The buildings have floors of up to 2,190m² although the landlord is prepared to subdivide these and modify and refurbish to suit a tenant’s particular needs.”
These buildings are located on an elevated 800mm platform so occupants benefit from stunning waterfront views, particularly from the top levels, as far out as the harbour channel and encompassing Somes Island and the Wellington CBD.
Ground floor space of 2,190m² is available in one building currently configured as a mix of office and clean workshop space that could also suit a printer, laboratory or large retail type use. Negotiations are underway with a day care centre for part of this space.
Another tenancy of 1,470m² and a first floor tenancy of 2,190m² will become available in July. The 1,470m² ground floor has been primarily used as open plan office space with access from The Esplanade and opens out onto a sunny grass courtyard.
Matt Gibbs says one of the major attractions for tenants is the large amount of car parking available for both staff and clients on the 5.2 hectare site, in contrast to the challenges businesses face in securing adequate parking in Wellington’s CBD.
The landlord also owns the neighbouring eight-level IBM Tower building which is fully occupied. A new three level carparking building is to be constructed alongside the IBM Tower to provide 230 parks for tower occupants who currently park on the land being redeveloped.
The balance of the office space in the remaining buildings is presently leased on a short-term basis mostly to “earthquake refugees” – tenants who have had to temporarily relocate from buildings that have suffered earthquake damage. These include the Ministry of Social Development and Wellington Electricity.
“This space will eventually become available when these occupants move back into their previous premises so would suit tenants with longer term horizons,” says Matt Gibbs who negotiated the Wellington Electricity lease. “In the short term it means there is already a high calibre of tenancies in residence.”
The property and the adjoining IBM Tower are owned by a private family investment company which also owns a number of substantial CBD office and supermarket properties in Auckland. They acquired the holding from Grant Thornton, the receiver of Terry Seriposis’ property portfolio. Barfoot and Thompson’s Ian West, who manages the company’s portfolio, says this is their first investment in Wellington and they are determined to make a success of it.
“They are long-term property holders and they rarely sell anything. They go for quality, rather than quantity in their tenancies and look to establish long-term partnerships with their occupants. They are very flexible and accommodating in terms of ensuring their buildings meet their tenants’ requirements.”
Jim Wana says the western part of Petone between Jackson Street and The Esplanade is becoming a popular bulk retail destination following the implementation of Plan Change 29 to the district plan. This allows for a greater range of activities in this part of Petone including large bulk retail and residential development. Retailers in close vicinity include Pak 'N' Save, The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Bunnings, Kathmandu, Para Rubber, with new Briscoes, Rebel Sport and K Mart stores under development. The busy boutique retail strip of Jackson Street, with a wide range of shops and cafes, is also close by.
Close proximity to the motorway network provides easy access to central Wellington, the Hutt Valley and SH1 & SH2 north.
Building E: 1,300m² of bulk retail space with high stud plus adjoining external area of approximately 1,000m²; landlord will refurbish and reconfigure to tenant’s requirements.
Building D: 2,190m² ground floor suitable for commercial or large format retail use; 2,190m² also available on first floor with panoramic harbour views, would suit office tenants.
Building C: 1,470m² ground floor office space opening out onto a sunny grass courtyard. Suitable for variety of commercial uses.