A hidden island in Eden Terrace

3:52 PM Thursday July 7, 2016 Paul Charman

The building at 1A Porters Ave, Eden Terrace, is a solidly-built former butter packing factory which has housed offices since the mid-1980s.

Big commercial buildings on the buzzing fringes of Auckland City are a relative rarity and the few that exist there seldom seem to change hands.

This is particularly so in highly-desired Mt Eden, where such properties are “snaffled” by investors, or owner-occupiers, determined to stay put.

But exceptions can still arise.

Case in point: 1A Porters Ave, Eden Terrace, an old high-stud dairy storage facility which has now been placed on the market for sale.

This substantial building is being sold by Barfoot and Thompson commercial sales agents Murray Thompson and Cam Paterson and tenders will close on Wednesday, July 27, unless sold earlier by negotiation.

The concrete structure was built in the late 1960s for the former NZ Co-operative Dairy Company. It’s one of a cluster of four such buildings remaining on the site, which were designed to pack dairy produce for pre-EU Britain. Today the building is owned by a high-profile provider of exhibition and trade display services, Peek Display Corporation Ltd, yet few people seem to be aware that it exists.

“Yes, it’s big — boasting a respectable 2760sq m of letting area, on a generous land holding of 3371sq m, with 28 car parks — but it is also effectively hidden from view,” Paterson points out. “You won’t necessarily know it, even if you live in Mt Eden, because it’s located on ‘an island’.

“It’s a rear site, bounded by roads to the north, east and west and a railway to the south; you could drive past yet never realise it’s there.”

However, as it is located in central Eden Terrace, the building is highly accessible to all parts of the city, he adds.

“Today properties on the city fringe are generally small-to-medium sized structures, generally businesses, character buildings or apartments.

“So it’s surprising to find one dating back 46 years, with roots in larger-scale industrial manufacture and distribution.”

Complete with a rail siding, it was a purpose-built as a manufacturing facility, truly an example of how buildings used to be constructed, says Paterson.

The Dairy Co-op ceased activities in the mid-1980s, the entire site was sold off and Peek Display Corporation moved in.

Adjustments were made to the building at the time and further additions around the mid 1990’s.

Today under the Auckland City District Plan Isthmus Section it is zoned Mixed Use. Under the Proposed Unitary Plan it is designated as Business — Light Industry. However, the vendor has supported a proposal and submission to Auckland Council from neighbouring owners to retain the present zone, with a decision expected August.

Thought to have originally been a butter packing and storage factory, plans detail a concrete platform that serviced a rail siding.

“It appears to have been converted to offices in 1986/87, with further internal additions and changes in the early to mid-1990s.

“There are robust foundations, a ground and first-floor on concrete structural frame, and concrete aggregate exterior wall panels with solid poured concrete walls. The roof structure is substantial steel frame system.”

Present use is a mixture of offices and work/production rooms. Above this floor a significant mezzanine office has been constructed within the roof frame system.

The owner plans to move on from their highly-desired city fringe site, but not immediately. Peek Display Corporation has stipulated a tenancy term lasting 12-months from the date of settlement, with two six-month renewals.