Historic CBD building has the X factor

11:00 AM Saturday November 1, 2014 Colin Taylor

The X Gallery building is for sale at 18-26 Wellesley St.

Auckland’s historic former New Art Gallery, now known as X Gallery at 18-26 Wellesley Street on the corner of Lorne Street, Wellesley Street and Khartoum Place, has been put on the market.

“The chance to buy this award winning investment property and heritage building should not to be missed,” says John Binning, director of capital markets for JLL, which has been appointed to sell it as sole agent via an expressions of interest campaign closing on Thursday November 27 unless it sells earlier by negotiation.

“X Gallery is listed as a Historic Place Category B under New Zealand legislation,” Binning says. “The four level building was originally built in two stages. In 1916 it was constructed as the Wellesley Street Post Office and in 1927 as the Central Auckland Telephone Exchange. After undergoing an award winning refurbishment in 1995 the building served for more than a decade as the New Gallery”

Binning says the building has recently undergone a total premium quality refurbishment that embraces the qualities of its early 20th century architectural excellence combined with modern high stud character space.

“This creative ambiance has attracted a number of retailers and office tenants and has meant that the building is fully occupied with a net income of $1.48 million with 60 per cent of that income derived from the retailers. As part of the complete renovation the building has been structurally upgraded to achieve a seismic capacity of 100 per cent of NBS [New Building Standard].” 

True Commercial - John Binning of JLL.jpg

John Binning of JLL. 

The building contains 1820 sq m of office space and 891 sq m of retail area. Major tenants include Gloria Jeans, Designworks, Bruce Lee Sushi, Campuspecs, Core Electronics and STW.

The offices on Level 1 occupied by Designworks recently won the award for Best Workplace Design at the Interior Design Awards.

Binning says the X Gallery site is located within a Bonus Area 1 which means it is possible to achieve a maximum total floor area ratio of 10-to-1 through the use of ‘bonus’ floor elements. “What this means is there is potential for the purchaser to build a 10,320 sq m tower on top of the existing building which would drive further value in this investment,” he says. “The existing leases have all been structured to make this opportunity available in the future.”

The property is located within the heart of the Auckland CBD within a retail hub surrounded by a wide variety of clothing, food and beverage providers and art galleries. Wellesley St and Khartoum Place have high pedestrian traffic due to being close to Queen Street, the University of Auckland, AUT, the Auckland Art Gallery and the Auckland Central City Library. Recent pedestrian counts showed over 20,000 people per day passing the building on the Khartoum Place and Wellesley Street frontages.

“The recent rejuvenation of Khartoum Place adds further amenity to this very busy retailing location,” Binning says.

“There are no more than a handful of iconic historical buildings like the X Gallery that have been a continuous part of Auckland’s history left in the city. These few are all very tightly held and rarely come to the market.”