Helensville’s Grand Hotel for sale

5:37 PM Tuesday July 17, 2018 Paul Charman

The imposing freehold Grand Hotel property at 1-3 Railway St. Photo / Supplied

A Kaipara hotel famous for providing golden memories to generations of Aucklanders is on the market for sale.

Ray White City Realty’s Allan Myers is selling The Grand Hotel, Helensville, whose incarnations over the past 90 years have included romantic hideaway, music venue and even being a movie set . . .

However, Myers sees potential for an exciting new era for the historic property.

“The move away from country pubs as local community centres, coupled with this property’s flexible Town Centre-Zoning under the Auckland Unitary Plan, just opens a world of possibilities,” he points out.

“Assuming consents are approved, the Grand Hotel could become an historic 17-bedroom homestead, or could live again as a home and income.

“She could be used as a boarding house; a uniquely themed rest home; a childcare centre; art studio or gallery.

“I could see an enterprising developer transforming this heritage property into funky offices, or even heritage-type apartments,” says Myers.

The imposing freehold property at 1-3 Railway St, is being sold by a tender process, closing 4 pm, July 27.

History

In 1882 the original wooden structure known as The Terminus Hotel was built just opposite the Helensville Railway Station.

This hotel burned down in 1905, being replaced by a brick building which burnt down in 1931.

Following these sad events the present structure — known as The Grand Hotel — was built later during the 1930s.

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The majestic dining room is a feature on the ground floor. Photo / Supplied

“Determined that it would not suffer the fate of its predecessors, the owner constructed it with concrete beams, floors and concrete infill walls,” says Myers.

“The new premises, which was located opposite the station, really came to the fore in the years a passenger train service ran between Auckland and Wellsford.

“The train had a five-minute-stop at Helensville, and so thirsty male train passengers swarmed across the road to purchase jugs of beer at the hotel bar. These they swiftly downed, before running back to catch the train.

“No doubt there were a long and urgent lines formed outside the bathroom facilities following these escapades.”

Myers says the hotel was long a popular honeymoon destination for Auckland newlyweds, as well as hosting innumerable music concerts and being an in-demand film set.

“My own grandmother, on my father’s side, had her honeymoon there.”

He adds that in a bizarre twist, under now long-forgotten licensing laws, Maori customers were not allowed onto the premises until the 1950s.

The hotel was closed and stood derelict for many years, only to then be renovated and restored to its original grandeur, before once again opening for business.

“During use as a film set, it was apparently used for one of the ASB’s well-known Ira Goldstein television ads.

“Of course, many concerts have also been staged there over the years, including gigs by well-known Kiwi musicians such as Salmonella Dub; Midge Marsden; Dave Dobbyn; Anika Moa and many others.”

Layout

Myers says the ground level includes a house and main bar, full commercial kitchen, a majestic dining room and an outdoor area. Upstairs are four private rooms and 12 guest rooms. The site is around 1201sq m and the building around 901sq m.

“Last year the Council rating valuation was put at $1,275,000, which would obviously be well below the present-day replacement cost of such a facility.

“Clearly there are many possible uses for this impressive and unique historic building. What’s more, significantly, overseas investors too would be allowed to purchase this property for use as a hospitality venue.”