Capital’s historic Plimmer House for auction

4:27 PM Tuesday November 3, 2015 Colin Taylor

Wellington’s historic Plimmer House which houses the award-winning Boulcott Street Bistro.

The land and buildings housing Plimmer House, one of the capital’s best known restaurant venues and one of the last surviving examples of a modest ‘gentleman’s residence’ in central Wellington, will go under the hammer next month.

“This historic building has been meticulously maintained,” says Fraser Press of Bayleys Wellington who is marketing 99 Boulcott St for sale by auction at Bayleys Wellington on December 3.

Now home to the award-winning Boulcott Street Bistro, the gothic revival-style property occupies a pocket handkerchief-sized site and is dwarfed by adjacent high-rise buildings close to the CBD.

The Heritage New Zealand Category 1 listed building dates back to the early 1870s and was built for Henry Eustace de Bathe Brandon – chief clerk and accountant in the Stamp Department. It is believed to have been a wedding gift from him to his bride-to-be.

In 1911, the property came into the possession of descendants of John Plimmer, the notable Wellingtonian who was bestowed the title ‘Father of Wellington’ and who is immortalised by a statue on Lambton Quay.

The 165 sq m one and a half-storey timber cottage with its steeply pitched roof and tower with decorative pointed finials and fretwork, was constructed by Scoular and Archibald, builders of Wellington’s Government Buildings. The site it occupies is just 282 sq m and is defined by a traditional colonial white picket fence at its street edge.

True Commercial - 99 Boulcott St%2c Plimmer House - interior.jpg

The award winning Boulcott Street Bistro restaurant is the tenant in Plimmer House. 

Fraser Press says the building is not earthquake prone having been assessed by a registered engineer as having a NBS rating of 60 per cent.

“It’s only only two minutes’ walk from Lambton Quay via the Plimmer Steps where a bronze statue of Plimmer and his faithful terrier, Fritz, stands at the base of the steps,” he says.

“Plimmer House has a sentimental place in many Wellingtonians’ hearts – even more so now as the city continues to develop and evolve around it,” says Press.

“There’s something quite special about the way this beautifully preserved relic of Wellington’s late 19th century architecture is juxtaposed against the high-rise skyline of the city.

“Given the advances made around it, this property is a treasured piece of Wellington’s history and one which has not been presented to the market in almost 20 years.”

Press says the fact that one of Wellington’s favourite restaurants has been based in the building for close to 25 years and has further committed to the site for the long-term future, would give confidence to an investor looking for a passive addition to their investment portfolio.

Boulcott Street Bistro, now headed by chef Rex Morgan, has occupied the building since 1991 and has a new 10 year lease in place from December with two, five-year renewals beyond.

The property generates a net income of $128,000 plus GST per annum with two yearly rent reviews against the Consumer Price Index.

The main restaurant dining room seats 44 people and a further 16 can be seated upstairs in the private dining room.

The commercial kitchen was last upgraded in 2005 and a further upgrade is planned for January 2016 when it will be painted and new resin flooring installed.

“There is an external maintenance contract in place with Programmed Maintenance Services and the building is in great condition for its age,” says Press.

“The Boulcott Street Bistro has found that the character of this landmark building – along with its location close to major hotels, the CBD and affluent fringe city residential areas such as Kelburn, Thorndon and Wadestown – has very much worked in its favour.”