Westgate gym an affordable fit for new investors

5:00 AM Saturday November 7, 2015 Colin Taylor

Interior view of the Snap Fitness gym occupying the unit for sale at 15-19 Fernhill Drive, Westgate.

The sale of a retail unit leased to international gym operator Snap Fitness represents the chance for new commercial property investors to buy an accessibly-priced investment property in Auckland’s rapidly-expanding Westgate commercial precinct.

The unit, at 15-19 Fernhill Dr, Westgate, is being marketed by Colliers International brokers Shoneet Chand and Brad Visser and is due to be auctioned at 11 am on Wednesday December 9 at 151 Queen St, Auckland, unless it sells before auction day.

“This property gives individual investors the opportunity to get a piece of the action in one of Auckland’s fastest-growing new commercial centres,” says Chand. “It is very rare to see a small, modern investment unit, with a strong international tenant in occupation, put on the market in this fast-emerging commercial location. It’s a passive, trophy investment and the motivated vendor wants it sold.”

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Exterior view of the Snap Fitness gym at 15-19 Fernhill Drive, Westgate. 

Visser says the stratum in freehold titled property with a floor area of 417 sq m generates $129,270 in annual net rental income from a new six year lease to Snap Fitness and sits within a popular price bracket for individual investors.

“Smaller retail investment properties have wide appeal owing to their easily-understood fundamentals, and the market is going from strength to strength especially in fast-growing locations. With the low borrowing rates that are available, we are seeing many first-time buyers enter the commercial property investment market through purchasing strongly-tenanted and well-located retail properties.

“In many cases, first-time retail property buyers already own residential property and small retail properties allow them to diversify,” he says.

Chand says the property’s quality construction, location, tenant covenant and the potential for income growth through CPI-linked rent reviews make for a sound investment.

“For the first time investor in commercial property, this property ticks all the boxes and constitutes an easy to manage, hassle-free investment. It is ideal for buyers looking for an income-generating holding which offers an attractive set of investment fundamentals.”

The property was fully refurbished earlier this year before becoming home to Snap Fitness, a health club provider that caters to over half a million members worldwide. The business was founded in the United States in 2003 and now has more than 2000 clubs worldwide in the USA, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia and New Zealand.

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An elevated view of the redeveloped complex in which the Snap Fitness gym is located at Westgate. 

Visser says the unit is part of a redeveloped complex which also includes Big Save Furniture and Avanti outlets. It is located in the heart of Westgate and is close to the North Western Motorway interchange, which provides excellent accessibility to Westgate from the CBD, West Auckland and the North Shore.

“When the Waterview Connection is completed, the North Western Motorway will be an alternative to State Highway One, bypassing the city centre and linking Manukau, Auckland, Waitakere and the North Shore. It will be a huge bonus for businesses in West Auckland which will no longer be reliant on State Highway One and the harbour bridge for transit through the central city.”

Chand says the property is within the wider Westgate commercial precinct, which already includes retailers such as The Warehouse, the Westgate Megacentre and Pak’nSave. “The newly-opened North West Shopping Centre has also proven popular,” he says.

“Westgate is the largest master-planned urbanisation project underway in New Zealand. On completion Westgate will offer a vibrant new focus for residents, retailers, shoppers and visitors in the west of the city, providing a new town centre with community amenities, shopping, business and recreation facilities.”

Auckland Council estimates the first stage of the wider Westgate developments, includingnew schools, community facilities, open spaces, new roads and transport links will generate 20,000 new jobs.

“This exciting development is set to become one of the key metropolitan urban centres within the greater Auckland region, offering shopping, entertainment, business and public amenities spread over 56 hectares.”

The Westgate catchment area is characterised by a growing population of families which typically earn higher per capita and household incomes than national averages. “This demographic is recognised by a wide variety of retailers who have already chosen to set up shop at Westgate,” says Visser.

Major residential developments are underway nearby, notably Hobsonville Point, where new housing is being fast-tracked to meet the needs of Auckland’s growing population, he says.

Westgate is located 18km from the Auckland central business district and is within a 15-minute drive from home for around 475,000 people. 

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Brad Visser (left) and Shoneet Chand (right), of Colliers International.

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