‘Blank canvas’ Mt Wellington development site

5:00 AM Wednesday November 18, 2015 Colin Taylor

1. Aerial view of the big industrial land block for sale at 40 Leon Leicester Avenue, Mt Wellington.

A large parcel of vacant land in Auckland’s popular Mt Wellington industrial precinct has been placed on the market for sale.

“This is a ‘blank canvas’ site ideal for development in a prime location,” says Paul Higgins of Colliers International who, with colleague Hamish West, is marketing the freehold 1.7 hectare site at 40 Leon Leicester Avenue for sale by deadline private treaty closing at 4 pm on Wednesday December 9, unless it sells before the deadline date by negotiation.

Higgins says the flat site was originally part of a quarry and has since been engineered and filled to sustain standard industrial development loads. Water, electricity, sewerage and stormwater are provided to the property.

“The property is one of the last remaining greenfield sites available in the area and is notable for its size,” he says.

“Located in arguably Auckland’s most highly sought after industrial precinct, the property is less than three kilometres from State Highway One,” says Higgins. “Mt Wellington is very popular among industrial occupiers because of its location just 15 to 20 minutes’ drive from the Auckland CBD.

He says this particular pocket of industrial development within Mt Wellington is particularly well located near Sylvia Park, Ellerslie town centre and Lunn Avenue.

The site is directly next door to a new development occupied by Fonterra. Fulton Hogan, Turner’s Car Auctions and Sky TV are also in the immediate vicinity.

West says present and proposed zoning offers prospective buyers flexible options. “The site’s Business 5 zoning currently permits low to medium intensity industrial activity and, under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, the site will have a Light Industry zoning. This also permits flexible uses including light manufacturing, production, logistics, storage, transport and distribution activities.”

West says strong demand is expected from potential buyers given the scarcity of industrial property in Mt Wellington and neighbouring Penrose.

“There is a critical shortage of high-quality industrial premises in Mt Wellington and Penrose, which along with Onehunga, make up Auckland’s central industrial precinct. As Auckland’s original industrial area, most properties in Penrose, Onehunga and Mt Wellington contain older, low-stud facilities originally constructed in the 1960s and 1970s for manufacturing. There are very few undeveloped sites left.”

West says the lack of available land for new developments means that demand is far outpacing supply. “Faced with a lack of suitable premises in the area, businesses are postponing their plans to move, or are looking further afield to suburbs like East Tamaki, Wiri and West Auckland,” he says.

“With this in mind, this sale presents developers with an opportunity to construct new facilities in the area to meet the demand.”

West says the dearth of vacant land has been the catalyst for property regeneration with older buildings being demolished and modern, high stud, efficient facilities being constructed in their place.

“Most development sites in this part of Mt Wellington are ‘brownfield’ properties that require demolition and clearance work before building can start. However, this Leon Leicester site has the advantage of being undeveloped and ready for construction. It is also quite unusual to see a vacant industrial property of this large size come to the market in this central location, so we are expecting a lot of interest.”

Other buyers could include owner occupiers looking purchase a strategic piece of land and build their own new commercial facility.

“Developers may also consider catering to the owner occupier market when viewing the property. While the site could easily accommodate a single large, stand-alone industrial facility, quality small industrial units available for purchase are a key market niche that is in particularly tight supply,” West says.

“The site could lend itself to a unit development with compact warehouse and office units constructed and on-sold to small business owner-occupiers. There is a real lack of competing stock in this part of the market with very few quality small industrial units available for purchase, as most are offered on a leased basis only.”

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Paul Higgins (left) Hamish West (right)