Historic Auckland tearoom sells for $2.5m

5:00 AM Saturday July 15, 2017 True Commercial

The beautiful former tearoom, on the top floor of what is now the Heritage Hotel, has been a function centre since the 1990s. Photo / Supplied

The historic former Farmers Department Store’s Grand Tearoom in Hobson Street in Auckland’s CBD has sold for $2.5 million.

Encompassing 569sq m of space on the top floor of what is now the Heritage Hotel, it has operated as a function centre since the landmark store’s conversion to an apartment hotel in the late 1990s.

A 20-year lease to the Heritage expires in October next year and the hotel has indicated it won’t be renewing the lease, says James Chan who sold the property with Bayleys’ International Division colleague Matt Lee.

Chan says the purchaser has indicated an intention to convert the property to a large single penthouse apartment for living in, once the hotel lease has expired.

“The character features of the floor, particularly the high-stud ornate, art-deco ceiling, with its intricate detailing, make it an appealing residential conversion proposition. However, it will require a significant amount of additional expenditure over and above the purchase price.”

Lee says the property was marketed with a five-year resource consent until 2020 to subdivide the floor into three or four character penthouse apartments.

He says extensive floor-to-ceiling glazing with sweeping views of the CBD out to the Waitemata Harbour also increases the property’s attractiveness for inner city living.

There are two external decks which provide unobstructed views over the Viaduct Basin and the Hauraki Gulf.

The Heritage Auckland building was first constructed in 1914 as a warehouse before being redeveloped into the country’s largest department store in 1920. In the 1930s, a large wing was added which included the impressive silver service Grand Tearoom.

With seating for 300 people, it became one of Auckland’s most fashionable eateries and also hosted many civic functions over the years. It was also an integral part of the Farmers store where shoppers could enjoy a cup of tea and snack on cakes and biscuits in elegant surroundings.

More recently, high profile sporting teams such as Italian America’s Cup yachting syndicate Luna Rossa and the All Blacks have used it as their team headquarters and meeting place when staying at the hotel. In 1999, Bill Clinton, then President of the United States, presented to Apec members in the Grand Tearoom.