Historic Mt Eden Village character has bright future

5:00 AM Saturday February 28, 2015 Collin Taylor

This historic commercial building is for sale at 539-541 Mt Eden, Mt Eden Village.

A well maintained century old commercial building in Auckland’s Mt Eden Village is on the market, opening up a chance for a new owner to add value and capitalise on its excellent location.

The historic building on two freehold titles at 539-541 Mt Eden Rd, is for sale by auction through Deborah Dowling and Jonathan Lynch of Colliers International and is due to go under the hammer at 11am on Wednesday March 18 in Colliers’ auction room at 151 Queen St, unless it sells by negotiation before auction day.

Dowling says the building has been home to Mainly Toys, a successful local business, for the past 27 years,

“The building’s owners operated the Mainly Toys store from these premises as owner-occupiers from 1988 until they sold the business in 2011. With the new business owners having made plans to shift the store to Remuera Village the building is being placed on the market with vacant possession.”

“With future zoning allowing Mixed Use occupation of the property, this is an excellent candidate for development into a multi-purpose commercial and apartment building – possibly with live-work options,” says Dowling.

The property was originally two separate premises, forming part of a terraced row of commercial buildings.

Lynch says the ability to split the building back into two tenancies to accommodate multiple occupiers is a key advantage.  

“The current double fronted configuration offers the new owners several attractive options. They could elect to restore the internal dividing walls and retain one half for their own use, and sell the other portion or lease it to another occupier and collect an income,” he says.

Other value-add options could include conversion of the first floor and/or lower ground floors into apartments, creating live-work possibilities or separate retail and residential tenancies.

“Under the Proposed Unitary Plan, residential use will be permitted on this site,” Lynch says. “The new Mixed Use zoning will also permit further construction to a taller height limit, opening up significant potential to capture further value from this excellent location.

“Alternatively, in its existing configuration, the property is ideal for immediate use for a retail business on the ground floor and an office upstairs.”

The 408 sq m building has wide frontage retail premises on the ground floor, as well as lower ground and first floor areas containing storage and office space with amenities. It has recently undergone structural strengthening and roof repairs along with exterior and interior painting and waterproofing.

Lynch says the 200 sq m site property has been very well maintained over its 100 year lifespan and is located on the edge of popular Mt Eden Village - one of Auckland’s premier suburban retail locations.

 “There are many attractive historic features throughout the building such as exposed brick walls in the interior and a well preserved historic façade with sash windows on the first floor,” Lynch says.

Dowling says the current owner has undertaken some investigation into the property’s history, revealing a snapshot of the early days of commerce in Auckland’s suburbs.

“Records show that the original occupants of this row of shops were trades people and their families, who lived upstairs and operated their businesses from the street-facing ground level.

“Businesses serving the residents of Mt Eden from this site in the first half of last century included a stationer, tobacconist, boot maker, fruiterer, furniture maker, grocer and a ladies’ outfitter,” says Dowling.

A small opening in the wall on the lower ground level offers a further glimpse to the past, where the original foundations of Mt Eden Rd can be viewed.

In later years, 539 Mt Eden Rd housed a diagnostic lab and then a window/conservatory business, before Mainly Toys took over the lease in 1988.

The current owner purchased number 539 in 2001 after leasing for 13 years and the following year purchased the next door title, 541 Mt Eden Rd, which had been home to a succession of restaurants.

Dowling says the two buildings were converted to single premises at ground and first floor level, followed by work in 2003 to seismically strengthen the building. A lower ground floor basement was constructed at number 539 to match the existing lower ground and basement next door.

“Pipework was also laid in the lower ground level of 539 Mt Eden Rd in 2003, to provide for the possibility of an apartment opening on to the back yard of the property later,” Dowling says.

Lynch says the demand for commercial property in Auckland’s inner ring of city centre suburbs from both buyers and occupiers is increasing, with a marked increase in the popularity of commercial properties in Mt Eden over the past few years.

“There is no shortage of demand for commercial properties in good locations from owner occupiers, investors, developers and tenants, and as such we expect this property to attract a lot of interest from potential buyers who can see the future potential in this property and its sought-after location.

“This is an excellent opportunity for an add-value investor, owner occupier or developer to secure a foothold in a well established suburb which is benefiting from ongoing residential and commercial development and property value increases,” Lynch says. 

Deborah & Shops.jpg

Deborah Dowling of Colliers International & 539-541 Mt Eden, Mt Eden Village.