Grand entry units within Old Magistrates Court

5:03 AM Saturday August 6, 2016 Colin Taylor

The Old Magistrates Court building in Kitchener St serves as the entrance to the Metropolis apartment building.

Starring in Barfoot & Thompson’s latest Insite portfolio are four commercial units for sale in the Old Magistrates Court building which serves as ‘the grand entrance’ to Auckland’s landmark 38-level Metropolis apartment building.

“This sale represents a chance to buy freehold strata units in one of the city’s premier heritage commercial properties,” says Andrew Clark of Barfoot & Thompson Commercial. Clark and colleague Reese Barragar are marketing the units for sale by deadline private treaty closing at 4pm on Wednesday, August 31, unless they sell earlier by negotiation.

The property in which the units are located forms part of the large Metropolis apartment and retail complex totalling 4421sq m and bounded by Kitchener Street, Courthouse Lane and High Street.

Clark says the Old Magistrates Court Building was built in 1912 and is considered a fine example of Edwardian baroque architecture. “Constructed over three levels it has a distinctive and very attractive facade in Oamaru stone incorporating full stud double hung and arched windows with plastered ceilings to the ground and first floor. The basecourse of the courthouse is constructed of Coromandel Tonalite.

“With the potential to add value, we believe the flexibility of use offered by these units will interest investors, owner occupiers and residential developers.”

The 933sq m total building area on two levels is for sale with vacant possession and encompasses a bar, restaurant, kitchen, office and conference facilities.

Clark says a purchaser of all four units as one package could keep to the same commercial formats or change the use. The units are also for sale as individual or multiple units.  

Three of the units are located on the ground floor and comprise the fully operational bar, a restaurant and a commercial grade kitchen. The ground floor also provides the reception for the building and main walkway access through to the Metropolis Tower.

The fourth unit consists of office amenities and conference facilities on the basement level.

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Interior view of bar area for sale within the Old Magistrates Court building. 

“In terms of presentation the bar and the restaurant are to a high standard with high stud ceilings and full height window joinery,” says Clark. “There is feature timber and tile flooring to the bar plus internal decor and other high quality fittings. The back of house area for the restaurant has tiled ceilings and includes a kitchen, preparation and storage facilities.”

The basement level unit includes a conference area split into two areas by bi-folding doors.

separate men's and women's staff locker rooms and toilets, a staff lunchroom, storage and carpeted and partitioned offices used by the Metropolis manager, accounts and finance and others.

Barragar says the ground floor entry lobby features high quality marble, granite and limestone flooring and walls with a feature inlaid ceiling believed to be of onyx.

“Feature panel doors on either side of the entry lead on the right-hand side to the bar and on the left-hand side to the dining area of the restaurant. Stairs and a lift provide access to the conference and guest toilet facilities at the basement level.”

Barragar says the bar and restaurant areas have a pleasant outlook to Albert Park across the road.

“The entrance is also close to the Victoria Street car park and the Auckland Art Gallery. From Kitchener Street most parts of the CBD core are within easy walking distance.”

Barragar says the immediate High St and Chancery area is a popular locality for fashion boutiques, cafes, retail and business services.

Clark says the Old Magistrates Court building is identified in Auckland City District Plan as Heritage Item 66 with a Category A listing as “a building, heritage property or place of special value”.

“The designation is intended to protect the nature and presentation of the building for the benefit of the city into the future,” he says.

Under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP) the building comes within the Queen Street Valley precinct centred on Queen Street and includes the areas surrounding High, Lorne, O'Connell, and Fort Streets.

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The standalone office and residential property at 62 Brown St, Ponsonby

The precinct has a strong pedestrian focus and is designed to accommodate a wide range of retail and commercial activities “that contribute to its vibrancy and amenity”.

Demonstrating the variety of commercial properties within Barfoot & Thompson’s latest Insite portfolio, and also being marketed for sale by Barragar, with colleague Murray Tomlinson, is a property on the city fringe in Ponsonby.

“We often have requests from buyers looking for a commercial investment property in the inner western fringe of the city with live-in, lock-and-leave features along with additional secure income and future potential,” says Barragar. “They are extremely hard to find but every now and then one surfaces and this is such a property”.

The standalone property at 62 Brown St, Ponsonby, encompasses office space along with two self-contained residential apartments, and is for sale by tender closing at 4pm on Wednesday August 24, unless its sells beforehand by negotiation.

The property comprises a total building area of 436sq m on a freehold land area of 324sq m.

It houses four separate self-contained tenancies – one of which will be vacant on settlement.

Tomlinson says the building appears to have been built in two stages with the rear half constructed in the mid-1950s, and the front half in the mid-1960s.

“Subsequently it has been converted into four separate refurbished boutique office-studio, residential areas.” The lower ground floor is 81sq m and front first floor is 71sqm; while both the middle first floor and rear first floor are 142sq m. The total 436sq m building earns total net annual rent of $127,898.

“This property is a rarity,” Tomlinson says. “It is zoned Mixed Use under the current district plan and under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan it is zoned Business Mixed Use with a height limit of 16.5 metres.

“With the benefit of adjacent easements to the west side residential property, the zoning allows for real development possibilities. It is in a wonderful central Ponsonby location permitting commercial usage but retaining the charm of the traditional Ponsonby residential locale.”

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The interior of Unit 1 at 6 Margaret Williams Drive, Papakura. 

The property is situated on the southern side of Brown Street in a block bounded by Fitzroy St to the east and Richmond Rd to the west. Ponsonby Road, which is a main transport route, is directly to the east as is the large Ponsonby retail centre about 300 metres away.

The Auckland CBD is 2.5 kilometres away and access to the north-south State Highway One and north-western SH16 motorways is nearby via Fanshawe Street, Pitt Street and Newton Road respectively.

The area is also served by regular bus services to the city and outer western suburbs.

Among a number of industrial offerings in the new portfolio is a mid-sized unit with exclusive secure yard area in Papakura’s central industrial area.

“Sound, modern and low maintenance buildings like this are highly sought after,” says Craig Brunt who is marketing Unit 1 at 6 Margaret Williams Drive for sale by deadline private treaty closing at 4pm on Friday September 23 unless it sells earlier by negotiation.

The property is leased for $46,800 per annum plus GST to Veolia Water Services (ANZ) Pty Limited with the remainder of the present term and a five month right of renewal running through to April 10 next year.

“There is no further right of renewal but the tenant has indicated an interest in extending for a further period,” Brunt says.

“A stratum in freehold industrial unit title with an area of 480sq m, the building is of modern concrete tilt slab construction and includes a workshop/warehouse, office and full amenities across two levels, along with some mezzanine storage.

“It has been well designed and compact in its configuration lending itself to a wide variety of uses. It is one of two units that make up the body corporate and has an exclusive yard area provided for on the title.”

Brunt says a feature of the property is its Industrial 4 zoning under the Papakura District Plan which allows activities not permitted in other zones.

“This is a property that both investors and owner occupiers should investigate in view of its potential to cater for a wide range of users – and in particular those who have a requirement for yard space.” 

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Andrew Clark and Reese Barragar of Barfoot & Thompson Commercial