Guesthouse or Mt Albert’s Downtown Abbey?

3:00 AM Friday July 3, 2015 Colin Taylor

Built in the 1870s as Stoneleigh, the stately home at 4 Alexis Avenue is now the Mt Albert Guest House.

Stoneleigh House, an historic Auckland stately home which traces its construction back to the 1870s by Charles Stone, has been placed on the market for sale in its modern format housing a successful guest house business.

Stone is believed to be the first European boy born in Auckland and his birth was certified by city forefather Sir John Logan Campbell.

The homestead originally occupied 1.2 hectares of land in Mount Albert and was purchased in 1922 by the Methodist Church which renamed it Epworth House after the birthplace in England of its founder John Wesley. Epworth House operated as a Methodist-run orphanage until 1936.

Stoneleigh is now known as Mt Albert Guest House with its owners running long-term accommodation for tenants in 31 single and double-bedrooms. Weekly room rates range from $175 to $265, with the business operating an average occupancy rate of 95 per cent. A one bedroom self-contained apartment within the grounds rents for $325 per week.

Mt Albert Guest House is being jointly marketed for sale at auction on July 15 by Bayleys’ commercial and residential teams Paul Dixon managing commercial inquiries and Duncan and Andrea Ritchie handling the residential component. The building has a B classification under Auckland Council’s Heritage schedule.

Dixon says the historic colonial mansion could be bought with the intention of returning it to its former stately grandeur on some 1851 sq m of land, or it could be maintained as a fully operational and profitable accommodation business.

Mt Albert Guest House has three separate accommodation units. What was Stoneleigh House comprises 455 sq m of bedrooms, multiple bathroom amenities, a lounge/TV room, and large communal kitchen.

 4 Alexis Avenue, Mt Albert - Stoneleigh - outbuilding.jpg

 The Mt Albert property for sale includes these outbuildings.

 The complex also has two outbuildings: one of 74 sq m and one of 47 sq m which contain four and five bedrooms respectively. The laundry facilities are housed in the basement and the property has on-site parking for 12 vehicles.

“From a commercial perspective, the property has been exceptionally well maintained and is fully compliant with council requirements –  including its sprinkler and electronic fire alarm system.

“The Mt Albert Guest House business model is founded on offering long-term accommodation – with tenants tending to stay for months rather than weeks. Artwork adorns the hallways and the property is professionally cleaned to hotel standards to ensure a high degree of customer satisfaction among the tenants.”

Ritchie says the grand manor of Stoneleigh in its previous incarnation rivalled some of Auckland’s more well-known stately homes – such as Alberton House, Oakfield, Clay House, and Rahiri.  

“There are very few residential properties of this grandeur and heritage left in Auckland. And they certainly don’t come up for sale that often,” Ritchie says.

“The external architecture of the home is virtually the same as when it was built some 137 years ago – which goes a long way as testimony to the quality of the builders and craftsmen at the time.

“With architectural plans, the interior room configuration could be returned to close to its original state even allowing for the potential installation of modern day conveniences such as ensuite bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes.

“We’ve had a glimpse under some of the hallway carpeting and the floor boards appear to be original milled kauri. Likewise with the door framing and hallway arches - we believe they are all made from the original native timber.

“If a new owner really wanted to relive the majesty of the Victorian era they could even use the two external outbuildings as live-in servants’ and gardeners’ quarters. It’s such a regal home. Stoneleigh could be the Downton Abbey of Mount Albert.”

Paul Dixon, Bayleys.jpg

Paul Dixon of Bayleys.