Historic Ponsonby character has great future potential

5:00 AM Saturday October 24, 2015 Colin Taylor

The frontage of the historic Ponsonby building for sale at 283 Ponsonby Rd.

A distinctive landmark character Ponsonby building, containing a variety of tenancies including the award winning Sidart Restaurant, is for sale with the potential to add significant value to the property.

Owned by its current family owners for over 30 years, the 1240 sq m Three Lamps Plaza building located on 747 sq m of land at 283 Ponsonby Rd is up for tender closing on November 10 unless it sells earlier by private treaty.

Generating total net annual rental income of $273,505 and featured in Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio, it is being marketed by James Chan and Matt Lee of Bayleys’ international division.

“This iconic building has been situated in the heart of the tightly held Ponsonby retail strip since the early 1900s and it represents a superb investment opportunity with a spread of risk across nine tenants,” says Chan. “There is also plenty of potential to add value by leasing up three vacant retail and office tenancies.”

Originally constructed around 1905, the distinctive building originally housed a skating rink. In 1910 it was converted into the Windsor Picture Theatre followed by another change in the 1920s when it was renamed the Brittania Theatre, which it remained until it went the way of many neighbourhood picture theatres and closed in 1969.

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An interior view of 283 Ponsonby Rd. 


In 1981, the building underwent major redevelopment and was renamed Three Lamps Plaza comprising ground floor shops with a restaurant above. “The plaza has undergone numerous upgrades and renovations since then, including earthquake strengthening, and has a seismic assessment of 67 per cent of New Building Standard which is very acceptable for a building of this vintage,” says Chan.

The Three Lamps Plaza has basement storage and a ground floor retail area that is occupied by seven tenancies. The fine dining Sidart Restaurant, which has been in occupation since 2009, is located above along with a tattooist, a legal firm and two vacant office suites.

The property has a number of long established retail tenants including Three Lamps (Unichem) Pharmacy which is the largest ground floor tenant occupying 171 sq m on a six year lease running until August 2020; Three Lamps Doctors which is on the same lease term; and Step Inn Shoes. The other ground floor occupiers include a barber’s shop, a chiropractor and a tattoo removal business.

“There is currently one vacant retail tenancy on the ground floor comprising 74 sq m of net lettable space which presents a good opportunity for the next owner to add further income by leasing up,” says Chan.

“The two vacant office suites comprise 181 sq m and 198 sq m of character business accommodation. They are in good condition and provide another means of increasing the property’s rental return.

“Longer term residential conversion of this space - encompassing two floors plus a mezzanine level - to loft styled apartments could be a possibility. The property has a Town Centre zoning under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan which encourages a mix of uses including residential and offices on upper floors.”

Lee says the property is in a high exposure position on Ponsonby Rd with additional rear access via a council car park on Margaret St giving two hours’ free parking. “The easiest way to access Ponsonby Rd from this car park is through the arcade so this generates plenty of foot traffic for the ground floor retail tenants,” he says.   
“The arcade is positioned near the main intersection connecting Ponsonby Road with Jervois Road, St Mary’s Road and College Hill and it is close to major transport routes and services with a bus stop situated metres from the building.”

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James Chan (left) and Matt Lee (right), of Bayleys.