Eden Business Park ‘sweet spots’ for sale

9:37 AM Wednesday September 3, 2014 Colin Taylor

Exterior view of part of the Eden Business Park at the corner of Normanby Rd & Enfield St in Mt Eden.

JLL has been formally appointed by Arena Investment Management Limited to run an open marketing campaign to sell its commercial property assets including buildings within the Eden Business Park on the corner of Normanby Rd & Enfield St in Mt Eden in the Auckland city fringe precinct.

Managing the divestment process on behalf of Arena are: Nick Hargreaves, managing director of JLL New Zealand, and JLL colleague John Binning; along with Chris Key, head of corporate finance of JLL Australia.

For sale within the Eden Business Park is a large office complex with a total net lettable area of 19,032.056 sq m and parking for 702 cars. It generates a gross annual income of about $5.9 million with operating expenses of around $1.6 million.

“Eden Business Park is a landmark office development that has been progressively developed since 1999 with the most recent works completed in 2007,” Hargreaves says.

“The property for sale comprises four freehold office buildings designated Eden 1, 3, 4 and 5 that were constructed in the last 12 years - three of which are interconnected. It also includes two strata titled office units and a standalone car park building.”

Eden 2, which is not included in the sale, was constructed in the 1950s and underwent a substantial refurbishment circa 2002.

Hargreaves says the four buildings on the market provide well specified, modern suburban low rise office accommodation.

“Eden Business Park also benefits from two development sites known as Eden 6 and 7 which are currently used for additional car parking and allow for future expansion and intensification of the property,” he says.

Commercial Property - Nick Hargreaves, MD JLL - cropped.jpg

Nick Hargreaves, managing director of JLL New Zealand;  ‘The business park is now moving to full occupation’..    

The complex is multi-leased to office and retail firms with major tenants including the Ministry of Education, Herzon, Teletech, Banklink, Cognition and Citrix Systems.

The official marketing campaign calling for expression of interest will be launched next Monday September 8 and will run for five weeks closing on Friday, October 10.

“Vacancy is currently at around 20 per cent which has allowed seismic upgrade work to undertaken,” Hargreaves says. “The office areas will meet 100 per cent of the seismic code by Christmas with much of the upgrading work already completed and the business park is now moving to full occupation with a number of new tenancies in progress.”

Hargreaves says the property could be subdivided as the vendor has established a number of separate titles across it.

“There has been a significant increase in the volume of transactional activity in the New Zealand commercial property market through 2014 which allows for the sale of these properties at a time when market conditions are favourable and likely to deliver the best outcome for Arena investors,” he says.

“Any transaction of properties in this portfolio is also likely to take advantage of the significant international capital flows that we are seeing come into both Australia and New Zealand. International capital flows have seen more than double digit growth since 2012 and quality product such as the Eden Quarter is in the sweet spot for these large scale institutional investors.”

He says that over the past two years Arena has successfully repositioned its office portfolio, through active asset and capital management, which has underpinned an improvement in the value of the properties.

“We expect there will be interest from several global fund managers and investors recognising the strategic appeal of the opportunity,” Key says.  

David Ross, independent chairman of Arena says the board has resolved that now is a good time to test the market.  “Given the success we have had in leasing the Eden Park buildings and the current strong property market conditions, we have asked JLL to run a process which will be open to receiving a broad range of proposals, including selling individual properties, portfolios of properties, or offers for investors’ units.”

He says the board’s preference is for all four buildings on the market to be sold if possible.

Arena Investment Management Limited, is the responsible entity of Arena Property Fund (APF), Arena Office Fund (AOF) and Chevron Renaissance Property Trust (Chevron), which controls Eden Business Park.

All three funds have been frozen for investor redemptions since 2008, when the Global Financial Crisis had a significant impact on property values. In late 2011, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI) acquired the business and together with Arena outlined a three stage plan:

1. Stabilise the funds by MSREI underwriting recapitalisations of APF and AOF to enable distributions to be paid to investors and refinancing the Chevron mezzanine debt facility on more favourable terms for investors.

2. Reposition the assets and allow time for the property market to improve.

3. Provide liquidity to all investors, where market conditions are favourable and doing so is in investors’ best interests.