Historic Ponsonby premises for lease

10:21 AM Saturday September 27, 2014 Colin Taylor

The century-old Ponsonby Post Office's ground floor has been vacated by the Belgium Beer Cafe.

The ground floor of the century-old post office building that dominates the Three Lamps corner site at 1-3 St Marys Rd, Ponsonby, is being offered for lease by JLL after the departure of the Belgium Beer Cafe operated by the Frenzi Group.

"The Skin Institute, with seven Auckland sites and eight more clinics across New Zealand, is still leasing the level above," said Anthony Barton, retail sales and leasing specialist for JLL.

After an extensive refurbishment and structural upgrade, the building is now rated at 100 per cent New Building Standard (NBS).

In addition to the ground-floor space of 250.67sq m for lease, there is a 76.6sq m courtyard, 25.96sq m of office space and 13.83sq m of basement storage.

"This corner site is perfectly set up for hospitality use and presents an excellent opportunity for a food and beverage operator that wants to take advantage of the current strong performance of the sector and the building's prime position," said Barton.

He said Statistics New Zealand reported that retail sales in the food and beverage sector had increased by 4.5 per cent from March to June 2014 and this was supported by a 5 per cent increase in accommodation spending over the same period.

"The improvements to the economy have encouraged consumer confidence and as a result we are seeing hot spots such as Ponsonby reap these growth benefits. Cafe, bar and restaurant sales are experiencing strong overall progression and the number of these food and beverage outlets is also increasing as a result of greater consumer spend."

Barton said the historic building's prime position and elevated site at the intersection of Ponsonby Rd, Jervois Rd, College Hill and St Mary's Rd had assisted its high occupancy rating.

It was designed in the Edwardian era by architect John Campbell and built in 1912, a period when the Auckland Chief Post Office, Old Town Hall and Ferry Building were also built.

The 100-year-old building is also connected with the murder of the Ponsonby postmaster in 1920 in a famous case internationally. It was the first time in the British Empire that the prosecution sought a conviction for a capital crime based almost entirely on fingerprint evidence.

Barton said Ponsonby was experiencing a resurgence as a "nightlife destination" with restaurants such as The Cav, Little Easy, Farina, and Boy and Bird restaurant all contributing.

"Residents of the affluent suburbs of Ponsonby, Freemans Bay and Herne Bay also don't need to travel far to enjoy whatever a new tenant decides to offer within this landmark building," he said.