Quake-rebuild workers' village in Christchurch for sale

5:56 PM Friday April 12, 2019 True Commercial

The 1.7ha enclave known as Workotel in Riccarton is indicated by a red border. Photo / Supplied

The residential village created to house hundreds of construction workers brought into Christchurch to rebuild the city after the Canterbury earthquakes has been placed on the market for sale or joint venture development.

The 1.7ha enclave known as Workotel encompasses what was previously the Riccarton Holiday Park. It was converted into intensified commercial standard worker accommodation in 2011, and was quickly enhanced to its current configuration — now sustaining a complement of 107 accommodation units.

The Workotel inventory includes the original cabins which formed the holiday park, alongside dozens of relocatable and semi-permanent cabins brought in as additional bedrooms — some complete with their own bathroom and kitchenette facilities.

The site at 15-21 Main South Rd and 29 Ballantyne Ave in Upper Riccarton retains the original campground infrastructure, including laundry, administration office, and storage sites.

The landholding and building portfolio is now being marketed for sale or for a joint venture development through an expressions of interest process being managed by Bayleys Canterbury.

Salesperson Jeremy Speight says the site’s owners — a mix of Singaporean and New Zealand-based business interests — would consider either selling the real estate assets outright, or entering into a potential joint-venture redevelopment programme with any potential new owner or partner.

In addition to the holiday park assets, the Workotel portfolio includes five established residential dwellings, one of which is the Thistle Guest House.

The freehold land at the Main South Road/Ballantyne Avenue location is zoned Residential Suburban under the Christchurch City Council plan.

“The permutations for future use of this site and the structures are incredibly broad,” Speight says.

“All existing structures could be removed, and the property redeveloped into a new housing neighbourhood — either standalone dwellings, apartments or terraced-style residences subject to council consents.

“There is also enough land — complete with dual entry and exit points from two roads — for retirement village operators to consider this location.

“Alternatively, just the campground assets could be demolished and replaced with new-build dwellings or purpose-built student accommodation, with the five other houses retained and refurbished to be sold off individually.

“Under these options, the ongoing tenancy of many of the Workotel cabins and houses by construction workers still employed in the city rebuild programme would deliver a considerable holding income stream while the necessary council consents were acquired.”

Speight says the value of the relocatable cabins has been independently assessed at more than $1m. They consisted of a mix of single and double-bedroom units. He says though the majority are suitable for relocation or continued occupancy, some are nearing the end of their economic life. The cabin stock ranges from 10sq m to 34.5sq m.

The Workotel accommodation portfolio achieved a gross revenue of $1,318,000 in the year to May 2018.