Space for sale in planned Fort St tower

5:00 AM Saturday July 25, 2015 Colin Taylor

Artist’s impression of new retail, office and apartment building planned for 38 Fort St in the Auckland CBD.

A high rise office and apartment tower with ground floor retail space is planned to arise from the Auckland CBD site of a 100-year-old, two-storey building that previously hosted the Lipstix nightclub - now earmarked for demolition.

The new 17-level Mixed Use zoned building at 38 Fort St is expected to be completed by January 2017 on the 282 sq m site within the city’s former ‘red light’ district.

Seven freehold, strata titled office floors and street level restaurant space are being marketed by Jasmine Yao and Tony Allsop of Colliers International and are for sale by deadline private treaty closing on August 27, unless they sell earlier by negotiation. Apartments within the building are being marketed by Ross Hawkins from Southebys.

“The tower will be constructed on a prime site on the northern side of Fort St, on the site of an older building that was built in the early 1900s for a printing company,” Yao says.  

“The development is being undertaken by Auckland company Falconer & Co, which has a property portfolio that includes high-end, luxury properties in Auckland and Queenstown.

“Resource consent has been applied for and construction is due to start this November on what will be a sought-after, secure and exclusive working and living environment. The development fits in with the council’s vision for the future of Fort Street and the wider Britomart area,” she says.

The building’s ground level facade will incorporate marble and glass panels, with the upper levels clad in vertical ‘fins’ that will appear gold when viewed from the west and black from the east. The tower will also feature a distinctive, visible diamond-shaped structural support system.

Floor to ceiling double glazed windows across the full width of the north and south frontages have been designed to provide excellent natural light and expansive views. Designer lighting will also be installed on all floors, along with other “luxury” features throughout the building, including a gold mosaic feature wall and leather-look marble in the lobby.

The 141 sq m open plan office floors have three metre studs and feature decks on both the north and south sides. Bathroom amenities are provided on each floor and all office levels have secure swipe card entry.

The 206 sq m restaurant space is across the ground floor and mezzanine and encompass a basement kitchen and storage area. “This presents is an excellent opportunity for a ‘destination’ hospitality business to acquire premises in the up-and-coming Fort St area,” says Yao. “An all-weather outdoor dining area will also be included.”

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The site at 38 Fort St is occupied by a century old two storey building that previously hosted Lipstix nightclub. 

Yao says the office levels are expected to appeal to owner occupiers looking to purchase new, compact workspaces in the central CBD.

“Options for live and work arrangements are expected to be of particular interest,” she says.

“The opportunity to acquire a whole office floor in a new tower in the heart of the CBD is rare. Many of the new developments underway at the moment have very large floor plates and are only offered on a leased basis, which doesn’t suit many smaller business owners who want the benefits and flexibility of owning their own freehold office properties.

“One of the key advantages of owner occupation is the ability to personalise each floor to the owner’s exact specifications and we expect the live and work option to be of strong interest given the development’s central location.

“While there are more opportunities to own private office floors outside the core CBD, this tower will be in demand because of its location in the centre of Auckland’s financial and business district, as well as its prime position near CBD entertainment hotspots,” Yao says.

“This is a chance for businesses which service the large corporates based in the CBD to have a location right on their clients’ doorstep. It’s also surrounded by cafes, restaurants and retail within the redeveloping Fort St area with ease of public transport a further drawcard.”

Allsop agrees that businesses will be attracted to the development by the potential to customise their own space without any landlord constraints and by the redevelopment of Fort St adjoining the popular Britomart precinct.

“Once a dilapidated part of the city centre, Fort St is now a successful revitalised ‘shared space’ pedestrian and vehicle precinct. It has been transformed into an attractive and up-and-coming corner of the CBD, led by Auckland Council’s efforts to improve it through construction of shared cobble stoned streets and lanes in place of the previous conventional streets.”

Allsop says the positive impact of the shared spaces on Fort St is already obvious, with the street now drastically improved visually and offering modern office environments and a selection of quality restaurants and bars.

“We think buyers will recognise the likely future uplift to property prices as this trend continues, and those who can see this potential to capture value will be looking to get in quickly to secure the accessible freehold strata titles in this new development.”

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View of Fort St showing site of the new tower within blue circle to the right. 

Yao says Auckland Council’s shared space project has laid the groundwork for continued improvement to the area that will benefit owners within the new tower complex. 

“The revitalisation of Fort St is part of Auckland Council’s City Centre Masterplan, a 20-year vision formed in 2012 that sets the direction for the future of the city centre as the cultural, civic, retail and economic heart of the city,” she says.

Pedestrian flows between Fort St, Queen St and Britomart are now encouraged by the shared space thoroughfares like nearby Fort Lane, where the successful redevelopment of the historic Imperial Building has attracted people to the area for entertainment, both day and night.

Allsop says other popular dining and hospitality businesses on Fort St include Fort St Union, Ima, Ben café and Sal’s Pizza, which are well-patronised by office workers from nearby Queen St and Shortland St.

“Some of the city’s finest office developments are in the immediate vicinity including the Vero Centre and Lumley Centre on Shortland St; the Deloitte Centre on lower Queen St and the Westpac headquarters at Britomart so Fort St has become the heart of the city.

“The location will underpin the attractiveness of the 38 Fort St development for smaller business owner occupiers who want to be near their clients and larger corporates situated in and around the vicinity of Shortland St.

“It also located close to key transport links like Britomart Railway Station and the central bus interchange which are just a couple of minutes’ walk from the property.

“The proposed redevelopment of Britomart Station into a two-way through station as part of the City Rail Link project will also be of tremendous benefit to business owners and customers in the Fort St area,” Allsop says. 

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Tony Allsop (left) & Jasmine Yao (right) of Colliers International.