Scarce bare land sites a developer’s dream

11:02 AM Saturday October 11, 2014 Colin Taylor

Land for sale at 3 Pacific Rise, Mt Wellington, identified by red border.

Two vacant commercial and industrial blocks of bare land to the south of Auckland city have been placed on the market for sale and are featured in Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio.

The sites, one near Sylvia Park in Mt Wellington and the other within the airport business precinct at Mangere, are expected to attract proactive developers and owner occupiers in the region who have been scouting around for opportunities in a market starved of development opportunities with any scale.

Mike Houlker, manager of commercial and industrial for Bayleys Auckland Central, says the recognised shortage of development land across Auckland has been widely publicised and has been backed up by genuine inquiries for suitable sites close to the city.

Tenders close on October 23 for a 10,173 sq m parcel of land at 3 Pacific Rise, Mt Wellington, that Houlker is marketing with colleagues Sunil Bhana and James Hill of Bayleys Auckland Central.

“This land is a rarity in the current market and is attracting attention,” Houlker says. “We don’t know of any other development land of this size for sale in the Mt Wellington area.

“This location is one of the region’s prime commercial and industrial areas. Once this elevated site is developed, it will have an enviable profile with superb views overlooking Mt Wellington and the benefit of a neighbourhood comprising a veritable Who’s Who of national and international brands.

True Commercial - 3 Verissimo Drive, Mangere - elevated and red bordered.jpg

Vacant site for sale at 3 Verissimo Drive close to Auckland airport – identified by red border.

“Companies with a presence already consolidated in the Pacific Rise precinct off Sylvia Park Rd include BMW Group, Rakon, Mercedes-Benz, Amway and SMC Pneumatics. “

Houlker says the land for tender has been levelled and is partially gravelled. It sits at the base of Hamlins Hill Regional Park and is currently zoned Business 8 under the Auckland Council Operative District Plan. Under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan it is zoned General Business which agents say may give added flexibility around possible end uses.

“Naturally a prospective purchaser would need to explore the options via the usual council channels but the land could lend itself to warehouse and showrooms, or quality office space,” says Houlker.

“With the right design put in place, any new building on this site could command massive branding profile given its great exposure to the State Highway One north-south motorway. Its closeness to the Sylvia Park shopping centre also future-proofs the location.”

He says the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI), which is designed to streamline transport infrastructure around Panmure, Mt Wellington, Sylvia Park, Pakuranga and Botany areas, is set to bring commuting benefits to the greater Mt Wellington area and should enhance the leasing potential of any new developments.

“Vacancy rates in the Mt Wellington area are tightening which adds weight to the offering in Pacific Rise,” Houlker says.

Commercial Property - Mike Houlker, Sept 10 - cropped.jpg

Mike Houlker, Bayleys Auckland Central

“Bayleys Research reported earlier this year that industrial vacancy rates for Mt Wellington were sitting at 3.8 per cent – down from 5.9 per cent the year before. This is one of the lowest vacancy rates across the Auckland region.

“A Bayleys’ industrial research report also showed that demand was strong and supply scarce for the Mt Wellington investment market and that capitalisation rates were firming.”

The second vacant land block for sale is a large and level 3.254 ha site at 3 Verissimo Drive close to Auckland airport.

“Freehold land this close to the airport is a luxury,” says Dave Stanley of Bayleys Manukau who, with colleague Ben Bayley, is marketing it for sale by deadline private treaty closing October 30.

“This is one of the last big blocks available, and owner occupiers, developers and investors are honing in on it having recognised that supply dynamics in this part of Auckland are severely constrained,” Stanley says.

Commercial Property - Dave Stanley of Bayleys.jpg

Dave Stanley, Bayleys Manukau. 

“Being close to the airport, the site provides an immediate access point to national and international markets. The location is also endorsed by influential businesses like Toll Logistics, Flyways, Cardinal Freight, Linfox, Supply Chain Solutions and Bidvest who have based their operations close to this available site.”

The block of land has a north easterly aspect and a prominent road frontage of 150 metres. It is zoned Business 5 (Mixed) within the Manukau City District Plan which allows for mixed areas of light and medium intensity industry, offices, and a limited range of retailing activity.

“While prospective purchasers need to clarify their options with council, our feeling – along with feedback we’ve received so far – suggests that this site is best suited to the proven airport precinct uses of park and ride facilities, logistics, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution,” Stanley says.

“There is also the possibility of subdivision with sites of around 10,000 sq m optimal to avoid a piecemeal or ‘bitsy’ scenario. The vendors have had some plans drawn up around possible subdivision options and these could be made available to interested parties.”