Freeman’s Bay site promises rooms with a view

10:35 AM Saturday November 15, 2014 Colin Taylor

This building complex for sale at 17 Hargreaves St, Freemans Bay, is leased to Fuji Xerox.

A big Freeman’s Bay, ridge-top property with “stunning” views over the city and the Waitemata Harbour, and leased to blue-chip tenants Fuji Xerox, is being promoted as “possibly the best Mixed Use potential redevelopment site in Auckland City”.

“The options for this 1.1 hectare site at 17 Hargreaves Street are only limited by the size of the buyer’s imagination and bank balance,” says Jason Seymour of Colliers International who, with colleagues John Green and Andrew Reed, is selling it by deadline private treaty closing on Wednesday December 10.  

“The property sits high above the prominent Victory Church where Fanshawe Street meets the State Highway One motorway,” Seymour says.  

Fuji Xerox, with an annual New Zealand turnover exceeding $200 million, has a lease on the whole site through to 2016.

“This offers new owners more than one year of holding income while plans are mapped out to realise the true value of the location. It could appeal equally to both commercial and residential developers and to value-add investors who may prefer to improve and re-lease the buildings already on site,” says Seymour.

“The large scale warehouse component is becoming increasingly rare in a location so close to the city,” he says.

The property with a total net lettable area of 6224 sq m encompasses a large, two-level office building and an adjoining 2095 sq m warehouse.  

The largely open plan office building is situated on the northerly aspect of the site and features a large, high stud, central atrium and cafeteria that leads onto a wide timber deck beside an onsite tennis court. Internal stairs and an hydraulic lift provide access between the two office floors and a basement car park for 69 cars. An additional 87 car parks are located around the perimeter of the site.

The buildings were purpose built by Fuji Xerox during the 1970s and 1980s and were significantly refurbished around 2000.

Seymour says that under the present zoning, there is the possibility of creating up to four levels within the 15 metre height limit - increasing to 16.5 metres for a new development under the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. The site currently has capacity for a basic floor area of two-to-one and a maximum of four-to-one, potentially allowing for development of a gross floor area of between 20,000 and 40,000 sq m.

“Conservative estimates suggest this could permit the construction of an apartment complex comprising 130 two and three bedroom units with 300 plus car parks,” Seymour says.

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Jason Seymour of Colliers International.

Permitted activities in the current and future Mixed Use zone allow multiple uses on the site including retail, entertainment and education facilities; restaurants and offices; and residential units.   

Green says the location has both strategic and scenic value. “While prospective value-add investors will take note of the scale and quality of the buildings, the northern, easterly and westerly aspects of the property feature expansive views of the harbour bridge, Westhaven Marina, Rangitoto Island and the city skyline. Any residential apartments constructed on the site would be exposed to the sun all day and site has a boundary with St Mary’s College. It is also in the middle of a very well established fringe commercial CBD location.”

Green says Ponsonby and Freemans Bay are two of the most sought-after locations on the fringe of the CBD, both in terms of commercial and residential and development. “The western CBD precinct, including The Viaduct and the Victoria Street corridor, has seen an unprecedented level of new office development and refurbishment in recent years,” he says.

“It serves an affluent catchment stretching from Ponsonby and St Mary’s Bay to the north, and Grey Lynn and Westmere to the west. Access to and from the motorway network is within 1.5 km of the property while nearby College Hill is on an arterial bus route to the city and the western suburbs.”

Green says the Hargreaves St property is near the Beaumont Quarter residential development beside Victoria Park and is surrounded by the Auckland CBD and the residential suburbs of Ponsonby, St Mary’s Bay and Herne Bay. 

“Trendy retail areas are nearby along Ponsonby and Jervois Roads as is a New World supermarket at the foot of College Hill.

“In addition, the nearby Wynyard Quarter is rapidly transforming into one of Auckland’s premier Mixed Use locations, with proposed hotel, residential, marine and commercial development all on the drawing board. The area already houses Air New Zealand, ASB, Microsoft, and Vodafone and will soon be home to Fonterra and several other key corporates,” Green says.  

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John Green of Colliers International.