Capital’s building has historic brick kilns

5:09 PM Friday February 9, 2018 True Commercial

The building at 42 Wallace St has two rare and historic lime kilns in its foyer. Photo / Supplied

A Mixed-Use property that celebrates the brick making legacy of Wellington’s Mt Cook area has been placed on the market for sale by its owner who has invested significant time, money, energy and empathy into it.

Known as 42 Wallace St, the standalone property has newly-constructed commercial cafe space on the ground floor and first level, with character residential accommodation above.

Mark Walker and James Higgie of Bayleys Wellington are marketing the property by tender closing March 7.

The total lettable area is 264.27sq m and the land size is 218sq m.

It is located on the western side of Wallace St between Hargreaves and Rolleston Sts, opposite the southern entrance to Wellington’s Massey University campus.

Intrinsic to the property are two rare and historic lime kilns located in the foyer of the building. The kilns are constructed of handmade bricks from Hill Brothers’ Brick Works, which operated from the site in the 1870s.

Frederick and Herbert Hill arrived in New Zealand with their parents aboard the ship Alma in 1857, emigrating from Liverpool. It is understood that the Wallace St brick making operation began in the late 1860s, before being bought in the 1870s by the Hill brothers.

The kilns are given pride of place in the purpose-built cafe premises which are still awaiting a final Code of Compliance Certificate for the required works under the original building consent.

Walker says the current owner of the property recognised the potential of the site to house a cafe to service the local community and student population from the Massey University campus directly across the road. He extensively retrofitted the two-bedroom residential villa and raised it up over two lower infill levels retaining the old kilns in the process.

“The hard work has been done,” Walker says. “A new owner of the property will be well-placed – once the work has been signed off – to either own-operate the cafe business and live on-site, or offer the cafe facility for lease as an added income stream. The entire property has an assessed potential net rental of $70,000.

Walker says back in the late-1800s and early-1900s, Mt Cook was home to several major brick working businesses with some operators also leasing sections of the town belt in Brooklyn to source clay.

“The lime kilns that remain a focal point of the Wallace Street property bear testimony to the enterprise of the Hill brothers. Bricks made on the Wallace St site were used widely in building works throughout the Wellington province,” he says.

“The current owner of the property tells us that the kilns are possibly the oldest industrial structures left in central Wellington.”

The cafe space features an efficient commercial kitchen layout and seating for 48 patrons with access from the ground floor foyer via a generous, centrally-located staircase. The staircase allows a direct sight-line up towards the cafe’s service counter from the street entrance.

Specially imported full-height translucent glazing helps screen the cafe by day, and makes internal activity visible at night.

Other special features include a rare antique commercial coal range, a large commercial scale 60-year old clock, two specially-designed large glass floor windows that allow viewing down into the kiln chamber, a concrete floor with electric floor heating and an antique cast iron lamp post with period style lantern on the street front.

Walker says there is an established and captive daytime clientele for the cafe with Massey University students and staff, local residents and passing pedestrians and perhaps potential for a ‘destination type’ cafe in the evenings.

“Equally, the space could have other potential commercial uses. Either way, I’d challenge anyone to find a property with as many quirks as this one on the open market.”