Top Takapuna fashion store on the rack

5:00 AM Saturday November 21, 2015 Colin Taylor

Exterior view of The Department Store which is for sale at 10 Northcroft St, Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore.

SioKnown as The Department Store, it was established in 2009 to provide a point of difference in a retail market overwhelmed by generic products and bland shopping experiences by fashion retailers Karen Walker and Black Box’s Dan Gosling along with Stephen Marr who has a hair salon and beauty therapy business in the building.

Located on a 587 sq m site at 10 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, the 1285 sq m building is being marketed by Simon Aldridge and Michael Nees of Bayleys North Shore Commercial and Shoneet Chand and Jimmy O’Brien of Colliers International. The property is for sale by deadline private treaty closing at 4 pm on December 3, unless it sells earlier by negotiation.  

The Department Store is producing net annual rental income of $408,882 from seven head leases running from late 2009 and early 2010. All but one of the leases has 10 year terms plus 10 year rights of renewal.

Monocle, highlighted the store in its international survey ofinspiring new locations and new methods of retailing. The magazine also filmed The Department Store for its online retail awards section, along with four other global locations.

Aldridge says the vision of the founders of The Department store has been to create a retail environment where shoppers can experience the best from the worlds of design, fashion and beauty encompassing top local and global brands. “The store has had a high occupancy rate since its launch with a number of quality branded tenants keen to secure space in the building,” he says.

The ground floor has a small cafe, the Coffee General tearooms, on its street frontage which leads through into a variety of fashion clothing and accessories outlets. One of Karen Walker’s five New Zealand premises is located here and includes eyewear, jewellery, shoes, bags and fragrances. The internationally renowned fashion designer has featured for the last three years in The Business of Fashion’s list of 500 people who have shaped the global fashion industry.

Other ground floor clothing retailers include Black Box, which showcases a number of local labels like Stolen Girlfriends Club and Georgia Alice as well as international brands; and Nature Baby, selling New Zealand-based baby and children’s wear along with organic cotton and merino babywear, bedding essentials, soaps, skincare and toys.

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Inside The Department Store at 10 Northcroft St, Takapuna.

Located at the rear of the ground floor is the men’s department, featuring the Topman range of clothing as well as other brands.

The top two floors are reached by a spiral staircase with the middle floor containing businesses associated with Stephen Marr including Lucy and the Powder Room, offering a range of specialist skin treatments, manicures and pedicures. 

Stephen Marr, well known as hair stylists used by New Zealand fashion designers, directors and photographers, also has a hair salon on the top floor, one of three in Auckland. Located on this level is a Topshop outlet offering a hand-picked selection of the latest women’s wear including makeup. The international fashion retailer has only recently established a presence in New Zealand.

The balance of the upper floor comprises a range of smaller, boutique clothing brands including Blak, Kowtow, Neuw Denim, Rolla’s, Ruby and Liam and Tiger Lily.

The three level building was constructed in the 1960s and modernised for its transformation into The Department Store.  As part of its refurbishment, extensive glazing was incorporated into the eastern and northern sides of the building to increase the amount of natural light and improve its visual appearance while a steel mesh façade was added to the front to distinguish it from other more standard commercial buildings in the Takapuna market.

Aldridge says the store's interior design was created by acclaimed New Zealand designer Katie Lockhart. “The store’s layout and distinctive decor is different from the norm in the New Zealand retailing scene which has increased its appeal to both shoppers and retailers.”
Chand  says the building  has been well constructed with reinforced concrete foundations and a concrete column and beam frame, supplemented by additional steel framing to areas where windows have been installed as part of the modernisation. There is a reinforced concrete slab floor at ground level with upper levels of polished Stratlin concrete floors and the walls are predominantly concrete block.  

“The vendors have modernised the building with the future in mind with an open plan configuration and lots of light,” says Chand. “This provides flexibility for whatever future market trends might unfold with options for residential and office use as well as retail.”

The property is currently zoned Business 3 but has a Metropolitan Centre zoning under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan which applies to 10 major metropolitan centres and allows for more intensive commercial and residential development, including high rise buildings.

Chand says The Department Store is strategically positioned at the Lake Road end of Northcroft Street and also has frontage onto a service laneway which runs parallel with Lake Road and links with Byron Street.  

“It is close to central Takapuna’s busiest intersection, where Northcroft Street and Lake Road connect with The Strand and Hurstmere Road. It is also near The Sentinel apartment tower, Shore City shopping centre and many other established retail and office complexes, drawing increasing customer numbers and workers into the area.”

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Simon Aldridge of Bayleys North Shore (left), and Shoneet Chand of Colliers International (right).