High flying Catalina café business on the market

12:27 PM Saturday August 30, 2014 Colin Taylor

Exterior view of the Catalina Café on Hobsonville Point which is for sale as a going concern business within leased premises.

The well known Catalina Café on the corner Of Buckley Avenue And Hastings Crescent at Hobsonville Point is being offered for sale as a going concern business within leased premises for an asking price of $1.2 million including tangible assets of $24,000.

The Hobsonville Point area was chosen to become the Royal New Zealand Air Force Base in 1924. During the 1930s, as planes were getting too large to land on the short air strip there, the air base was used as a repair and equipment facility. Since then it has also provided housing and support facilities for the nearby Whenuapai airbase.

 “The Catalina Café was opened in August 2010 in Hobsonville Point, occupying one of the original Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) buildings,” says Nick Giles of Link Business Broking Ltd. Ellerslie, who is marketing the business for sale.  

He says the leased building was constructed in 1938 and was used for avionics repairs and as a signals and communications centre for the Royal New Zealand Air Force as part of the Hobsonville airbase.

“The café has been renovated and redecorated using a 1930s colour palette to give it the charm of a bygone era - with army blankets used to cover cushions and stools and the area fitted out with energy saving and eco-friendly technology.

“The owners took a huge risk when deciding to open and they feel they had no right to expect the café to be as successful as quickly as it was,” Giles says.

“For an 11 month trading period from June 2013 to April this year - with café operations disrupted by roadworks last December – the café earned over $1.4 million – averaging weekly sales of $ 35,735.”

Giles says there are currently just 150 finished and occupied houses at Hobsonville Point and customers had to travel to the café.

“Now a whole new town of 3000 homes is to be built up around the café which is destined for an unbelievable future. Even with the few houses currently there, it has achieved weekly sales in excess of $30,000 by opening daily Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 4 pm. and for just one night a week on Sundays through to 8 pm. With further night time trading and catering for functions, its potential is mind boggling.”

The Hobsonville Development Project is one of the largest mixed-use developments of its kind ever embarked upon in New Zealand. Spanning an area of some 170 ha of former New Zealand Defence Force airbase land, it will encompass 20 km of roading and dwellings for 8000 residents along with schools and other vital infrastructure. The plan has been envisaged as a 10-15 year project with the earthworks and roading work commencing in 2009 and the first house was completed at the end of 2011.

The Catalina Café employs 17 staff in total - six full time and 11 part time. A car park at the rear of the building has 14 dedicated spaces in addition to plenty of on-street parking.

The café is fully licensed and offers a range of wine, beer, and spirits. “As this is a Waitakere Licensing Trust area the licence runs daily to 10 pm and up to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays,” Giles says.

Two of the owners work at the café in a supervisory capacity but neither have operational roles or are on the staff roster. Functions are hosted with a catering menu offered.

Giles say the owners have decided to sell to focus on their young family.

The café premises are leased for $90,000 plus GST with a current lease term of six years and one right of renewal of six years. 

True Commercial - Catalina Cafe - interior(2).jpg

Interior vertical view of the Catalina Café at Hobsonville Point from servery. 

“The café itself is wonderfully located within the proposed new township right next to a reserve and close the water’s edge. The building is spacious and airy and has a wonderful flow to sheltered outdoor areas where it is surrounded by a large park with a popular children’s playground and many coastal walkways.” The café grows a lot of its own herbs and vegetables and sources what it cannot grow from the local markets.

“Already an impressive business, Catalina is absolutely ripe to take advantage of a huge influx of new residents and visitors that the Hobsonville Point development is attracting,” Giles says. “And there is a genuine community feel to the new township.”

He just 15 per cent of the land has been allocated to ‘affordable’ housing with the starting point for first phase housing outside the affordable zone being around $750,000  and even a first batch of houses in The Landing by the water’s edge already heading towards $1million. Two major schools have already opened for business, each catering for around 1800 pupils and there are two major retirement communities to be built within the development – one across the road from Catalina.

“In the middle of this development has sat Catalina Café quietly growing in stature and reputation to become one of the most successful cafés in this area and in Auckland region,” Giles says.