Planned rail link putting city fringe on top

5:03 AM Saturday May 21, 2016 Colin Taylor

This City Fringe warehouse and office building at 26 Randolph St, Newton, sold for $6,018,000.

Commercial property on Auckland’s city fringe is already popular with mid-range investors but the planned City Rail Link (CRL) will really open up areas like Newmarket, Grafton, Mt Eden and Kingsland, predicts Nick Hargreaves, Managing Director of JLL.

Hargreaves says there are several forces at play that are making the city fringe suburbs so popular.

“The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan allows for mixed use zones around urban centres and along high frequency public transport routes - making it easier for a variety of commercial and residential developments in the city fringe.

“In this regard, Auckland Council’s investment in transport will pay dividends for city fringe property owners in future,” Hargreaves says.

“The major improvement to the urban area around Britomart Station, following its opening in 2003, shows how investment in transport can lead redevelopment nearby.It brought new life to what was previously an under-utilised part of the Auckland city centre and attracted large employers like EY and Westpac.

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This City Fringe warehouse and office building at 26 Randolph St, Newton, sold for $6,018,000.

“When the CRL opens in 2021, Britomart will become a through-station and Auckland’s entire rail network will benefit from rapid rail access.

“Auckland Transport says that the travel time between Kingsland and the new Karangahape Station will be six minutes, or 11 minutes between Newmarket and the new Aotea Station.

“Tenants who can’t afford CBD locations can take premises in the city fringe suburbs and still feel close to town – being able to travel by train to attend meetings in the city within minutes,” Hargreaves says.

He says Auckland Council expects city centre and city fringe residents to double to 140,000 by 2041 and forecasts that city centre and city fringe employee numbers will also double to more than 200,000.

Hargreaves says it’s notable that city fringe properties have been keenly sought by commercial property investors with an eye to the future during the past year.

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A 1980s’ office building at 9 Madeira Lane in Grafton sold for $3.5 million.

“Purchasers are doing everything from new builds to refurbishments, office upgrades and student accommodation in the fringe suburbs,” he says.

“As an example a 1980s’ office building on a 1039 square metre site at 9 Madeira Lane in Grafton sold for $3.5 million. The property is a 12-minute walk from Grafton station and will be converted to residential.

“Just up the road, JLL also sold a 2,902sq m Newton warehouse and office building with street frontages at 9 Karaka St and 26 Randolph St for $6,018,000. Located next to the Northwestern Cycleway and is 20 minutes away from downtown Auckland by bicycle or bus, it will also change to residential use.

“And in Kingsland, JLL recently sold a 1281sq m office building at 35-39 George St for $3.7 million. The property is an 11 minute walk from Kingsland and Mt Eden train stations.

“We expect to see these kinds of city fringe properties to continue to sell quickly over the next five years to savvy investors,” Hargreaves says.  

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Nick Hargreaves, Managing Director of JLL