Prime waterfront site launched on the market

5:00 AM Saturday August 29, 2015 Colin Taylor

The Salthouse Boatbuilders complex at 84 Rame Rd, Greenhithe.

Salthouse Boatbuilders has put its big Greenhithe waterfront property on the Waitemata Harbour up for sale for the first time since it occupied the site in the 1950s.

“This sale opens up a unique waterfront development opportunity for the next owner,” says Stephen Scott of Bayleys Auckland who, with Ranjan Unka of Bayleys North Shore Commercial, is marketing 84 Rame Rd for sale by expressions of interest closing on Thursday September 24, unless it sells earlier by negotiation.

The property, featured in Bayleys latest Greater Auckland portfolio, is at the end of Rame Rd and encompasses various buildings totalling 1763 sq m, three slipways on a 3200 sq m site, a wharf and a floating pontoon.

“This site and the Salthouse name have been an integral part of the development of New Zealand’s marine industry for more than 60 years,” says Scott. “An impressive and diverse range of vessels have been built on and launched from the property encompassing racing yachts, cruising boats, commercial vessels and a variety of tenders used in supporting roles for America’s Cup events.

“However, a change in the nature of Salthouse’s boat building business, with more of a focus on smaller vessels such as tenders, means the company no longer requires a property of this size.”

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Boats under construction at Salthouse Boatbuilders. 

Two main buildings are used for boat construction and repair. An 876 sq m factory developed in the late 1960s has a stud height of up to 7.6 metres and a roller door on the western side providing access to a slipway. A newer 644 sq m factory built in 2003 has an 8.83 metre stud, three roller doors and two winch sheds.

Other buildings included in the sale are a 106 sq m engineers’ shed, a free standing 86 sq m single level office building and a 50 sq m cottage constructed around 1990 with an open plan kitchen/living/dining area, a bathroom and a bedroom

A 24 metre long by 3.2 metre wide timber wharf was constructed in the 1970s and had a 26.7 metre long by 3.4 metre wide floating concrete pontoon added to the end of it in 1997. This is accessed from the wharf via a ramp with a security gate.

A larger public floating pontoon facility is located just to the west of the property developed specifically by Auckland Council to assist with the launching of large rowing boats. It is used by the North Shore Rowing Club, which has premises next to the pontoon, as well as North Shore schools for rowing training. As part of this development, the council resealed Rame Rd and created additional public parking.

The property encompasses three titles plus part of a cross leased block of land that is shared with the neighbouring property owner. Some of the land is reclaimed and council-owned on which coastal permits have recently been renewed and approved for another 35 years.

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Aerial view of Salthouse Boatbuilders complex at Greenhithe, depicting the property’s Waitemata Harbour setting. 

The land is zoned Special Purpose Zone 6 – Boat Building and has a similar proposed zoning under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. Scott says to unlock the property’s real value, the new owner would need to apply for a plan change and work with the council to redevelop the site.

“Salthouse is offering vacant possession should a new owner want to redevelop the whole site. However, it would also consider leaseback options - continuing to occupy the property while the new owner formulates plans or leasing back part of the site on a longer term basis.

“The company is keen to support the right developer with the right idea to rejuvenate the property. The North Shore Rowing Club, currently operating out of a relatively confined space, has indicated it would like to expand its premises and is keen to work with a new owner.”

Scott says given the property’s prime north facing waterfront position, with views east and west, it would obviously make a superb residential development site. “However, it could suit a mix of uses including marine related activities, a cafe and restaurant and other amenities that would draw a rapidly expanding surrounding population to the site.

“It’s a pretty special property on which the next owner could create something really exceptional that mirrors what is planned around the wharf at Hobsonville Point, a short distance across the water.”

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A 1.8 hectare parcel of waterfront land surrounding that wharf, originally developed to bring flying boats ashore to be serviced, will become the commercial and social hub of Hobsonville Point, incorporating a mix of residential, retail, hospitality, niche office and community uses plus a proposed marina. A popular farmers’ market in a repurposed hangar, which regularly attracts 4000 visitors a weekend, will be incorporated into the redevelopment.

Unka says the northwest is undergoing a major urban renewal at present with the $3 billion redevelopment of Hobsonville Point on a 167 hectare peninsula site encompassing 3000 to 3500 new homes, a retirement village and commercial, community and recreational amenities required to support a population upwards of 8000 residents. New primary and secondary schools have already opened and an early childhood education centre opens later this year. 

Further west in the Hobsonville Corridor, development of over 60 hectares of land zoned for light industrial use has begun while work is also well advanced on the first stage of the $1 billion Westgate Town Centre development.

Unka says Greenhithe, bordered by Lucas Creek in the north and Hellyers Creek in the south, has experienced significant growth over the last 10 to 15 years, particularly since the Upper Harbour motorway was completed.

“This has improved access to and from Albany and other parts of Auckland. It’s always been a popular spot for lifestylers wanting to live close to Auckland but there have been a  number of more intensive residential developments undertaken in recent years which have increased the population density.” 

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Stephen Scott (left) & Ranjan Unka of  Bayleys North Shore Commercial (right).