Viaduct Harbour property has Soul

7:05 PM Friday September 29, 2017 Colin Taylor

The property housing Soul Bar and Bistro occupies a prime site at 85 – 93 Custom Street West. Photo / Supplied

A Viaduct Harbour property, housing Auckland’s popular Soul Bar and Bistro and featuring impressive views over a marina full of multi-million dollar yachts and launches, has been placed on the market. 

“It must be stressed that only the premises are for sale as a tenanted investment property; with Soul remaining as a long-term tenant,” says Mark Pittaway of Bayleys Auckland; who is marketing the leasehold, unit-titled, property at 85 – 93 Custom Street West for sale by auction on October 25.

Featured in Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio magazine, the single-level ground-floor premises leased by Soul sits beneath upper levels occupied by the Sebel Auckland Viaduct Harbour Hotel.

It encompasses 475sq m of indoor dining floor area, kitchen space, staff amenities, and bar area; with a further 153sq m of covered outdoor deck area that is also used for wining and dining.

Soul will remain as tenant in the investment property, on a lease running through until 2026 with two further six-year rights of renewal; and will pay $437,500 annually adjusted to the Consumer Price Index plus 0.5 per cent from December 1 this year.

All outgoings for the unit-titled premises – including ground rent – are paid by Soul.

“Zoned Business – City Centre, the property - along with the other properties associated with the building - has been professionally managed by a corporate property services company throughout its association with Soul,” Pittaway says.

“The long-term future of the property for sale is underpinned by the extension of the current lease, in conjunction with the rights of renewal through to 2038. With the return of the America’s Cup in four years, the Viaduct should once again see scenes reminiscent of those witnessed in the 1999 – 2003 heydays,” he says.

The lessor’s interest is held by Viaduct Harbour Holdings Limited, with the next ground lease renewal and rent review scheduled for early 2019. The ground lease is perpetually renewed for 21 years.

“Soul’s location at the apex of The Viaduct’s two ‘arms’ of bars and restaurants give it unobstructed western views down the marina towards the setting sun,” Pittaway says. 

“The level of property commitment by Soul as lessee, has seen the restaurant and bar complex maintain a consummate air of professionalism and appearance throughout its distinguished life,” says Pittaway.

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The unit-titled premises are below the upper levels of the Sebel Auckland Viaduct Harbour Hotel. Photo / Supplied

He says Soul has consistently been among the best performing fine dining venues in New Zealand since it opened in 2001 and has remaining at the pinnacle of Auckland’s corporate and high-end dining, social and leisure scene for almost two decades.

“The physical venue at 85 – 93 Customs Street East first emerged as a hospitality destination around the year 2000 when the location first hosted upmarket seafood-themed eatery FINZ. The opening of FINZ was part of the ‘birth’ of the Viaduct as a consequence of New Zealand winning the America’s Cup.”

Pittaway says the Soul Bar and Bistro is often described by locals as New Zealand’s ‘economic barometer’ – as indicated by the number of corporate diners lunching on the balcony on any given Thursday or Friday.

Soul Bar and Bistro is one of New Zealand’s most decorated food and beverage venues – winning awards like:

  • Supreme winner Hospitality Zealand Awards for Excellence in 2010;
  • Winner of the Best Restaurant category at the Hospitality Zealand Awards for Excellence in 2009, 2010, and 2012;
  • Winner of the Excellence in Customer Service category at the Hospitality Zealand Awards for Excellence in 2009, 2010, and 2011;
  • Winner of Excellence in Training and Staff Development category for four consecutive years from 2009; Excellence in Marketing award in 2009; and
  • Outstanding Waiter in 2015 and 2017; and Hospitality Personality of the Year in 2014 at the Lewisham Awards run by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.

Pittaway says The Viaduct is now firmly established as a premier hospitality hub - both by the number of licensed operations immediately adjacent to each other, and by geography.

“The America’s Cup victory of 1995 was the catalyst for regeneration of this part of the waterfront. That development continued on past 2000 when Team New Zealand retained the ‘Auld mug’ until the 2003 America’s Cup.

“Now the resulting infrastructure in and around the Viaduct is a magnet for visitors – both local and international – attending a large array of sporting-associated events,” Pittaway says.

“These include the likes of the Rugby World Cup, two Lions tours, the Cricket World Cup, two Volvo Around the World Yacht Race stop-overs and the World Masters Games. Additionally, waterfront hospitality businesses are sustained throughout summer by the many cruise liners berthing in Auckland on an almost daily basis.

“Then there’s public events such as New Zealand Fashion Week, the Auckland on Water Boat Show, and dozens of conferences being held throughout the year at the nearby ANZ Viaduct Events Centre.

“All of these feed in solid customer numbers for Soul and other dining establishment in the greater Viaduct precinct

“While the course, bases, and format of the next America’s Cup are yet to be finalised, corporate support networking for syndicates is already being planned. When the event proper commences, the area will see the arrival of the affluent spectators who follow the sport, along with team owners and their entourages,” Pittaway says.

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Mark Pittaway, Bayleys Auckland