Bathroom supplier cleans up Highbrook building

5:02 AM Saturday March 5, 2016 Colin Taylor

An aerial view of building under construction at 33 Business Parade North, Highbrook to be occupied by GWA with 31 Business Parade leased to Syntax next door.

A new office and warehouse building still under construction at the Highbrook Business Park in East Tamaki will be occupied by GWA Bathrooms & Kitchens on April 1.

The building at 33 Business Parade North will comprise 3065sqm of warehouse area with 400sqm of offices over two levels. A 500sqm canopy will have three electrically operated roller doors opening to a secure drive-through yard of 1330sqm.

The lease on behalf of the property’s owner, Goodman Property Trust, and GWA was negotiated by Sam Smith, national director of industrial for JLL.

“GWA will be in good company at Highbrook,” Smith says. “Neighbouring businesses include Spicers, Stanley Black & Decker, NALCO National Aluminium and Plytech International.”

GWA is New Zealand’s leading supplier of bathroom-ware selling brands like Caroma, Fowler, Stylus and Dorf.

James Ewart, GWA’s general manager, says the new building will have many benefits for the company.  

“The most obvious is that it will be significantly more modern than our current site in Allens Road. The building is beautifully designed and therefore a better reflection of the quality of the brands GWA supplies to the New Zealand market.”

He says the move will enable all of GWA’s Auckland-based staff to relocate into modern offices on the second floor.

“From a logistics point of view, the new warehouse will have a high stud and well-organised footprint that will streamline delivery service to GWA’s customers. 

“It also facilitates the establishment of a substantial ‘concept centre’ on the ground floor which will be open to the public, architects, builders, and plumbers interested in gaining inspirational ideas for upcoming bathroom projects,” Ewart says.

While GWA will start operating from the new venue from the beginning of next month, the new concept centre is not expected to open until August.

Smith says Auckland industrial development land is scarce resulting in record low vacancy rates for industrial properties – a motivation for Goodman to develop the building on an uncommitted basis along with a warehouse complex next door at 31 Business Parade North.

“This neighbouring property has also been leased prior to completion to Syntax which is an existing Goodman customer. JLL expects to see more of this type of speculative development as industrial tenants continue to seek out A-grade stock in a tight market,” Smith says.

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Artist’s impression of the completed building at 33 Business Parade North. 

Both new buildings are only 550 metres from The Crossing which has been designed as a venue for Highbrook workers and commuters to gather and socialise in bars, restaurants and cafes. The three buildings that make up Stage One of The Crossing are complete and are linked by an open-air plaza.

Jarrod MacGregor, Goodman’s portfolio manager, says all the buildings are now fully occupied at the Highbrook so more industrial space will be developed on an uncommitted basis at the business park.  

As a result, Stage Two of The Crossing is now underway with the first project being the construction of a three-level office building with uninterrupted views over Tamaki River.

“It’s a flexible design, with floor plates ranging from 1236-1296sqm that can be configured into smaller suites,” MacGregor says.

MacGregor says GWA’s new building at Highbrook will have easy access to the State Highway One motorway making it efficient for the delivery of inward and outward goods. It will also be a convenient location for the concept centre visitors.

Smith says JLL’s industrial clients favour Highbrook because it is a thriving business hub just 19km from downtown Auckland and 15km from Auckland Airport.

The Highbrook Business Park used to be a farm known named Ra Ora and was the home of prominent industrialist Sir Woolf and Lady Fisher who made it famous as a thoroughbred breeding and racehorse training facility.

As Auckland developed, the Fisher family recognised that the property’s natural attributes and strategic location made it ideal for business purposes.

International landscape designer Peter Walker completed an award winning masterplan and urban design guidelines for Highbrook in 1998.

In 2001, a Business 5 zoning became operative at the property and the estate of Sir Woolf Fisher ceased operating a horse stud Highbrook to concentrate on building key infrastructure for commercial development. 

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Sam Smith of JLL (left), and Jarrod MacGregor of Goodman's (right)