Grafton’s historic black beauty for sale

5:00 AM Saturday June 27, 2015 Colin Taylor

The historic Auckland Savings Bank building at 29 Khyber Pass Rd.

“This character building at 29 Khyber Pass Rd is a local landmark,” says Peter Kermode of Colliers International, who with colleague John Davies, is marketing it for sale by tender closing on Wednesday July 22, unless it sells earlier by negotiation.

Constructed in 1928, the compact single storey building is occupied by Sanders Design, which purchased and refurbished it for use as its art studio in 1997.

“Sanders undertook a full renovation of the interior of the building, carefully retaining and restoring the character features including the decorative plaster ceiling in the old banking chamber,” Kermode says.

“It now provides beautiful character office or studio premises with the Sanders Design team having enjoyed the charm and special ambience of the building.”

The old bank sits on a flat 369 sq m freehold site with the 152 sq m building containing many attractive neoclassical features typical of the bank buildings which were constructed around the country in the early years of the 20th century. These include an impressive ornate front facade with a cornice supported by columns, and metal window joinery.

The focal point of the interior is the 93 sq m original banking chamber space with a 5.2 metre stud allowing the possibility for a mezzanine floor to be added.

Kermode says the interior of the main bank chamber area has been converted to office and meeting room spaces. “It has a soaring high stud and decorative ceiling which makes for a really impressive space,” he says.

A lean-to at the rear of the building provides a 60 sq m amenity area while behind the property is a 217 sq m piece of land used for car parking on which the building could be extended.  

Davies says there are several options for a purchaser to consider including owner occupation, investment and development.

“The purchaser could occupy the property for office, hospitality or even residential purposes or may be able to negotiate a longer-term lease with Sanders Design. The buyer could also redevelop the site to maximise its long term investment potential.”

Davies says heritage bank buildings of this style are extremely rare so demand is expected to be strong from small business owner occupiers and the investment market.

“Particularly creative industries will consider this gracious building as a trophy business premises, because of its high profile city fringe location and its bygone era appearance. The sale represents an excellent opportunity for a business to benefit from huge brand exposure in a central location.”

Kermode says a cafe or restaurant would be other obvious uses for the property given its address in a busy city fringe commercial hub just off the top of Symonds St.

29 Khyber Pass Rd, Grafton_Inline.jpg

The interior features soaring high stud walls and decorative ceilings.

"This is a proven location for hospitality businesses as demonstrated by successful nearby establishments like Galbraith’s Alehouse, Twenty Three, the Spotted Pig and the French Cafe,” he says.

“With both the current and proposed zonings permitting a combination of commercial and residential uses, a live and work arrangement could also be a possibility for the buyer. It is also expected to attract interest from developers looking to add value.”

This part of the city is sought after by businesses due to the lower land and rent costs and higher convenience factor when compared with the central business district, says Davies.

“There are many benefits to business occupiers on the city fringe,” he says. “The CBD is just a stone’s throw away from Grafton yet property costs are significantly lower, parking is cheaper, and access to the State Highway One and State Highway 16 motorways is much quicker.”

Davies says Grafton is strategically positioned between Newmarket and Mt Eden, close to the Grafton Gully motorway interchange, Mt Eden train station, Auckland Hospital and amenities like gyms, shops and cafes. It is also served by regular bus services.

“New higher-density residential developments in the immediate vicinity include the proposed Skhy Apartments (NB subs: Skhy is correct) and several existing complexes.”

Kermode says that over the past decade Grafton has been going through a period of rejuvenation, with new commercial development and the refurbishment of existing buildings. “Auckland University's redevelopment of the former Lion Brewery site further down Khyber Pass Road will further enhance the prospects for this part of the city,” he says.


Peter Kermode (left) Peter Kermode (right) of Colliers.