Huge potential for Whangarei Town Basin site

2:10 PM Wednesday June 8, 2016 True Commercial

An artist’s concept of an apartment complex on the corner of Carruth and Reyburn Streets, in Whangarei.

Four-level apartments are among options for a large high profile site in the heart of Whangarei’s Town Basin, one flagged by the local council as being suitable for future mixed-use development.

The 5005sq m freehold site is spread over two titles, on the corner of Carruth and Reyburn Streets; Colliers International and Tait Real Estate are calling for expressions of interest, closing June 28.

Colliers’ broker Jimmy O’Brien — who with colleagues Josh Coburn and John Fairley of Tait Real Estate in Whangarei — is marketing the property, says the site offers developers the chance to be “the first out of the ground”.

“This is a large freehold Business 2-zoned landholding — where leasehold land is rife,” says O’Brien “It’s in the most vibrant part of town that would be well suited to developers, owner-occupiers or land bankers; though development is undoubtedly the underlying best use of the property.

“Whangarei District Council is in full support of development in this area, and architectural plans for an apartment complex have been drawn up as a discussion document ready for the new owner or partner to take forward.

O’Brien says Council’s long term strategic plan — Whangarei 20/20+ — identifies the site as suitable for future development with retail and commercial units as well as up to four-storied residential units — including potential retirement accommodation.

“So an astute option might be to purchase the property with a view to future development, or land bank and capitalise on the site now as it is.”

The rear site, with a boundary to Carruth St, houses a two-storey building with a net lettable floor area of 1595sq m, as well as extensive on-site parking, O’Brien says. “There has already been significant interest from potential tenants in this building, which could serve as a holding income for those wishing to develop the front site, or as a standalone investment or building for an owner-occupier such as a trade retail business or medical company.

“The building was previously home to Northland Toyota and now comprises workshop space, a parts store, offices and a showroom as well as a vehicle wash area and grooming/machine room.”

True Commercial - Artist%27s concept of apartment complex  on corner of Carruth St and Reyburn St%2c Whangarei 2. - square.jpg

A second artist’s impression of a proposed Whangarei Town Basin apartment complex.

The property is north-facing and borders an area identified by council as the Hihiaua Precinct, O’Brien says.

“This precinct has been recognised by Council as suitable for inner city living and mixed-use, and it has been pegged to transition into medium-to-high density mixed-use area, with a range of activities being encouraged, from residential uses, boutique retail, cafes, limited office, community services, entertainment to tourist-related activities.”

Other key benefits include significant exposure and being close to developments such as Okara Park and the new $32 million bridge, which provides a fast route to the airport and Whangarei Heads, Fairley says.

“This site has three street frontages and is positioned on a major roundabout with significant traffic flows, providing excellent exposure.”

“Being near to Whangarei Airport and tourist destinations such as the Town Basin and Toll Stadium, the new owners could also look at a hotel or retirement complex,” Fairley says. “New Zealand is in the middle of a critical accommodation shortage, with the number of tourists expected to surge from 3.3 million this year to 4.5 million by 2022.

“The five main tourist destinations — Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown — have just over 20,000 hotel rooms but by 2025, they’ll need 9700 new rooms. Current plans show 5174 will be built, leaving a shortfall of 4500 rooms or 26 hotels and we are likely to see more and more tourists spill over into areas such as Northland.

Whangarei is also in significant growth mode – with an annual growth rate of 4.4 per cent higher than New Zealand’s overall growth rate of 3.9 per cent.