Riverside building with a colonial look

10:32 AM Friday June 17, 2016 Paul Charman

The building at 3 Elizabeth St, Warkworth, sits above Mahurangi River

A colonial-styled commercial building at 3 Elizabeth St, Warkworth, is for sale through Graeme Perigo and Barry Masefield of Barfoot & Thompson Commercial, Rodney.

The building will go to auction at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, on June 23 unless sold earlier by negotiation.

Perigo says Aucklanders stopping in at Warkworth Village on their journey north will know this structure, which was built on the banks of the Mahurangi River in 1990.

“It is one of the best examples of the colonial-styled commercial architecture built at Warkworth Village from the 1980s onward, and was well ahead of its time in terms of technology and design.”

The land was purchased and developed by friends Peter and Jamie Thompson and Tony and Maureen Ellis. They decided to construct a large commercial building with its own underground carparking, a forward-thinking idea that serves the building well to this day.

“The partners commissioned a difficult excavation, cutting down into the rock next to the neighbouring stream. They then constructed the 506sq m building above the carpark. Though commonplace today, back then carparks beneath buildings were a novelty.

“Yet with current population densities and traffic pressures, what a visionary idea for those days.

“The construction method used a combination of concrete tilt-slab and timber framing. It was clad with weatherboard, a colonial design fitting in with the historic village it borders.

“Above all, they also had the vision to utilise a fantastic position above the stream — one of few such sites offering tenants a backdrop of the native bush reserve and stream on the rear boundary.

“Meanwhile, high levels of exposure to motorists at nearby traffic lights on State Highway 1 provide the site with unparalleled visibility.”

The building was held in partnership between the two families until the death of Tony Ellis in 2005.

After that the couple’s daughter and son-in-law purchased the property to keep it in family ownership.

“Now that the owners have decided to sell, an opportunity has emerged for an investor to acquire a unique and structurally robust commercial building in a beautiful setting. It’s a type of property offering almost impossible to find these days, particularly in the extremely tightly held Warkworth area.”

Perigo says there have only been two ground floor tenants since the building was completed.

Flooring Enterprises traded from the premises for almost 15 years, being replaced by Bayleys Real Estate in about 2005.

Bayleys held the position for another 10 years, but recently moved into a new building it purchased.

Linen & Things, a large Silverdale-based company, took over the ground floor to expand into Warkworth and they’re already reporting strong sales, says Perigo.

Upstairs, the first floor is divided into three office spaces, housing long-time Warkworth consulting business Ashby Haigh Workman, prominent local builders Brackenridge Builders and a studio for Ingrid Yoga.

Barry Masefield, of Barfoot & Thompson Commercial, adds that Warkworth offers very little in the way of mixed-use developments.

“There’s a growing demand for apartment living or live/work pods, adding another potential future upside to 3 Elizabeth St as a possible conversion to apartments,” says Masefield.

“While the layout of Warkworth could be described as fractured between the old township and the new industrial areas, basic necessities such as banking, grocery, and retail shopping are predominantly in the main, historic precinct.”

The ambience and atmosphere of Warkworth will continue to attract locals and visitors to Elizabeth St, says Perigo.

The population of Warkworth was 3270 in the 2013 Census — a 15.7 per cent population increase since 2001.

“But this figure is already outdated, barely recognising rocketing residential land values and major commercial developments at Warkworth in recent years.

“This town is more than a dormitory town for ever-popular Snells Beach, Omaha and Leigh; it’s become a desired residential area in its own right, numbering many residents who commute the 45-minute (minimum) drive into Auckland Central and beyond. These folk have vastly increased in number of late, in line with accelerating population growth on the city borders.

“But while greater Auckland has pleasant beachside localities, the riverside village at Warkworth is unique in our region.”

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Barry Masefield (left) and Graeme Perigo (right), of Barfoot & Thompson Commercial.