Idyllic Wanaka Garden Centre on market for first time

11:47 AM Tuesday January 27, 2015 Colin Taylor

Elevated view of the Le Jardin Wanaka Garden Centre which is for sale at 555 Aubrey Rd, Wanaka.

The Le Jardin Wanaka Garden Centre, less than five minutes’ drive from Wanaka township in the Southern Lakes District, is being marketed for sale as a going concern business and a freehold property with expansion potential.

Catherine Pearson, business broker with Nexus Business Sales in Wanaka, says the property at 555 Aubrey Road will be sold at a price to be determined by negotiation.

“The business comes with substantial freehold land and buildings,” Pearson says. “The 4015 square metre site is flat to gently sloping, north facing, and surrounded by established homes on larger sites.”

She says the centre’s 300 sq m on-site two-storey building is well maintained with the lower level used as a gift shop and a reception area for the business.

The upper level comprises a three bedroom apartment which is currently serving as a staff room and offices.

“It would be very easy to refurbish this space for a new owner to occupy as a work-live premises or it could also be rented out to a compatible business as office space.” 

Pearson says Le Jardin has become a dominant player in the market, specialising in specimen plants, native, trees and shrubs.

“The business has an extensive range of varieties that will thrive in the Wanaka and Central Otago climates. With access to a large inventory of stock, Le Jardin has become well known for its ability to source established trees.”

She says the garden centre’s gift shop is known locally for its unusual pots which include 100 year old olive pots “and a set of two metre high, cast-iron monumental replicas of a by-gone era”. At the other end of the scale the shop has sold small garden pots for placing into Christmas stockings. The store also stocks original paintings from local artists and a large selection of attractive gifts suitable for a variety of occasions.

The building comprises timber framing on a concrete base with a board and batten exterior. Additional toilet facilities are on the lower level along with a laundry area where plumbing is in place for an extra kitchen.

The top level is of simple construction “but character filled” with wooden, tongue and grooved ceilings and exposed beams along with four ‘panel’ doors dating back to the early 1900s.

The three bedrooms and one bathroom all open out onto a large living area which opens out onto a large sunny deck overlooking a fish pond and large bronze fountain, surrounded by mature trees.

Pearson says the entire property is fully irrigated with automatic irrigation – a key consideration in Wanaka’s hot dry climate.

“The property has ample room for plant propagation which is increasing substantially due to the efforts of an experienced staff,” she says.

The business is open six days a week but the opening hours can be flexible and easily extended.

“The owners have previously closed the garden centre for two weeks in June during the middle of winter, but it could easily be kept open and managed by one staff over this period.”

Pearson says there is still plenty of capacity for the new owner to add their own vision to the business and expand the garden centre’s activities.

“It is the perfect location for a café with its rich birdlife, birdsong, ambling paths, fish ponds, fountains, pergolas and plenty of mature shade trees. Preliminary inquiries to council by the owners have been favourable for the granting of resource consent to operate a café business.”

The current owners have constantly been asked about the possibility of establishing a café within the garden centre but their response has been that it would take the business to a whole new level. “That’s for the next owner to do, we have laid the platform and now it’s time for us to take a rest and retire so we can spend time with our family”.

Pearson says all the ground work has been done and Le Jardin is now seeing exponential growth as Wanaka continues to expand.

“Over 130 sections have sold in Wanaka in the last 12 months and one building company reports it has over 60 homes currently in progress. The 100 hectare Wanaka Three Parks development encompassing over 360 residential sections is currently in its pre-launch phase.  Directly opposite the garden centre a further 1400 sections in the pipeline for final subdivision approval.”

Lake Wanaka area has 8646 permanent residents of which 6474 live in Wanaka itself.

Pearson says the permanent population increased by 28.5 per cent between the 2006 and 2013 censuses and Wanaka is on track to reach a projected permanent resident population of 12,000 by 2021.

“Statistics New Zealand says the Queenstown Lakes District – of which Wanaka is a part – has the highest growth rate in New Zealand at 2.2 per cent per annum and the district is projected to grow faster than Auckland over the period 2006-2031.