Spotlight on Takapuna theatre’s retail outlets

7:09 PM Tuesday September 19, 2017 Colin Taylor

The retail outlets, leased to three restaurants, are for sale are on the street level of Takapuna’s Bruce Mason Theatre. Photo / Supplied

Three street-level retail outlets in Takapuna’s Bruce Mason Theatre complex have come on to the market – all leased to well-established restaurants. 

The tenants in the block of three strata-titled freehold properties at 152-156 Hurstmere Rd are Art Wok, Sierra and Portofino.

The property has been put on the market by its owner who is selling-up and retiring, says John Jefferson of Savills who is marketing the properties for sale by private treaty closing on September 27.

Sierra and Portofino have leases running into the 2020s and there is plenty of upside for new owners, Jefferson says.

“The three restaurants have not had a rent review since 2007. They are on Takapuna’s ‘Golden Mile’ 100m from Takapuna beach, have good leases, wide street frontages and good parking next door.”

Jefferson says Portofino put considerable money into its restaurant fitout after taking over from One Red Dog and has been a tenant over 10 years, Sierra has been there for the same length of time and Art Wok for three years.

He says the Bruce Mason Theatre sits on its own strata title and its 20th anniversary was held last year marking its opening in August 1996. 

The theatre is named after Bruce Mason, a significant playwright who wrote 34 plays including his most famous, End of the Golden Weather, that is based on a 1930s’ Takapuna childhood; and The Pohutukawa Tree.

The theatre was an avenue for Mason to highlight social and political issues in New Zealand society. In 1987 he published The Healing Arch, a cycle of five plays, including Hongi which focused on Māori culture post-European contact.

When the theatre opened it was nicknamed “the Bruce” by locals and was the end of 12 years of lobbying, planning and fundraising by a group of North Shore identities.

A brief was established through the early stages to test its design and an extensive consultation was undertaken with tangata whenua and users.

Working to a tight timeframe and budget, the design met the North Shore City Council’s and community’s needs.

It has a flexible layout with adjustable floor levels that allow it to be used as a banquet and conference centre.

Successful since its construction, it is a popular venue choice for theatre and has restaurants and a bar creating a focal point for the local area.

Two years after it opened, the theatre ran into financial difficulties and required a $75,000 bail out. An independent review suggested an independent expert be appointed as an advisory trustee to the centre’s board of management to ensure the council’s interests were protected.

Although the then mayor George Wood was not happy he wanted to ensure the theatre was a success.

The theatre was initially run by the North Shore Theatre and Conference Centre and later a board of management. It is now part of Auckland Council’s network of regional and centre city venues.

It is described as a ‘hybrid’ venue; presenting performances by professional companies, and is also available for community events.

Theatre manager Terence Harpur told Channel magazine having 100,000 plus people attend ticketed events each year brings people with disposable income into the area.

“They eat out, have a drink after the show, and spread out into the Takapuna restaurant and retail district. It’s no coincidence that some of the longest established cafés and restaurants in the area are clustered around the Bruce Mason Centre end of town.”

The block of restaurants has a seismic grade of A-plus which is 100 per cent of the New Building Standard.

Jefferson says there will be more development around the block in the future and the sale represents a good opportunity for a passive investor.

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John Jefferson of Savills