Refurbished Epsom Post Office with land to spare

5:00 AM Saturday July 18, 2015 Colin Taylor

Road frontage view of the refurbished Epsom Post Office building.

A two level character commercial building that served as the Epsom Post Office for over 80 years and which has now been refurbished into professional office suites, is for sale fully leased with add value potential.

The 466 sq m building at 311 Manukau Rd, Epsom, located on a high profile 789 sq m corner site, will go under the hammer on August 12 as part of Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio auction. It is being marketed by Mark Pittaway of Bayleys’ Auckland office.

“This is an landmark building with a rich history that was originally constructed in the early 20th Century as a post office and which has been expanded and renovated over the years in keeping in with the original character of the building,” says Pittaway. “The current owner has further extended the building to the north creating another office and deck area along with earthquake strengthening it to 100 per cent of New Building Standard [NBS]. In addition, a former garage on the site has been removed and the entire rear area converted into a sealed car park with spaces for 10 vehicles.”

Pittaway says the building has also been completely refitted internally, including new carpets, double glazed windows, new data cabling and 12 energy efficient heat pumps plus additional amenities.

“The premises now comprise a well presented modern office complex with a number of suites capable of accommodating multi tenancies as well as amenities on both floors.”

The property is currently producing net annual rental income of $164,000 from two tenancies. Boutique law firm Property Practice Lawyers occupies part of the 376 sq m ground floor and Breast Care Products Ltd, which is a Ministry of Health registered provider, occupies the balance of the lower level and the 90 sq m upper floor.

Pittaway says the prominent Mixed Use zoned corner property, with access to the rear part of it off Kimberley St, offers a number of further add value options to the next owner.

“The flexible zoning allows for an array of future use possibilities including expanding the existing building into the car park area or constructing an additional separate commercial and/or residential building on the under-utilised land at the rear of the site.. The vendor has provided water and sewage services to a central location in the car park in anticipation of further development of the property,” Pittaway says.

311 Manukau Rd, Epsom - aerial depicting vacant land at rear.jpg

Aerial view of 311 Manukau Rd depicts the under utilised land at the rear of the site

“The site has residential appeal because it is north facing and benefits from all day sun. It is also within the popular double Grammar zone with excellent schools nearby including Auckland Boys Grammar, Epsom Girls Grammar and St Cuthbert’s College.. A previous owner had a consent approved for a three-level apartment complex on the rear portion of the site..”

The building has an Historic Places Category 2 classification requiring that its front façade remains intact. The Heritage New Zealand website says the classification recognises the property’s “aesthetic value as a building of striking visual appearance and its historical architecture value that demonstrates the importance and evolution of the postal services and their role in New Zealand society”.

The Government bought the site in 1907 to service anticipated suburban development in the Epsom and One Tree Hill locations. The Epsom Post Office was built as part of the first Liberal Government’s one and a half decade post office construction boom that commenced around 1900.

Constructed in1909, it was designed in a Baroque Revival style, under the supervision of John Campbell, the Government architect of the time, and is similar to most significant government buildings built around the turn of the 20th century. An initial design providing more accommodation was amended to reduce cost and was approved by Campbell in November 1908 with requested alterations.

Initially, the building accommodated a public vestibule with posting boxes, a private box lobby accessed via a separate front entrance,a public office and mail room (post office), telephone room and bureau and a small strong room.

Reflecting customary nineteenth and early twentieth century commercial design, a two bedroom postmistress’ residence was provided upstairs. Heritage New Zealand says the appointment of Kaeo postmistress Lillie Boardman to the Epsom position reflected the social acceptability of post office work as a respectable avenue of employment for women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Growing motor vehicle registrations, the 1934 establishment of school banking and increased state intervention in the supply of social and other services following the Great Depression resulted in a greater role for post offices under the first Labour Government. In 1937, changes made to the Epsom Post Office included the enlargement of the mail room and a flat roofed, office addition.

However, the building’s distinctive appearance due to the Marseilles tiled roof, rough cast cement plaster finish and symmetrical exterior has remained largely unchanged over the years, although the chimneys were removed in the 1980s. 

The downsizing and deregulation of the public sector by the Labour Government in the late 1980s, including splitting the Post Office into three separate entities, resulted in the property being sold into private ownership in 1990. It was acquired by David Kirby who extended and refurbished it to accommodate his business Kirby Advertising & Marketing.

Other tenants moved in when he retired and he retained ownership of the building until 2012 when it was put up for sale with vacant possession.

Pittaway says the current owner has decided to sell while there is still further upside in the property for the next owner.“The sale provides the opportunity to obtain not only a very valuable, strategically positioned site on a main arterial in the sought after suburb of Epsom, but also part of the history and tradition of Auckland.”

Mark Pittaway, Bayleys.jpg

Mark Pittaway of Bayleys.

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