Three level building at Highbury

5:00 AM Saturday August 19, 2017 True Commercial

The upper level fronting onto Birkenhead Ave is leased to the Tongue & Groove Cafe and the Majestic Barber Shop. Photo / Supplied

A three-level commercial building for sale in the Highbury town centre, Birkenhead, offers a split-risk investment with future development potential.

Located on a 802sq m freehold site at 49-55 Birkenhead Ave, the 481sq m building is occupied by a mix of retail, office and residential tenancies which will generate net annual rental income of $112,070 for the next owner.

Longer term, the favourable Town Centre zoning under the Auckland Unitary Plan, with a 21-metre height allowance, means considerable development appeal, says Oscar Kuang of Bayleys’ International Division.

He is marketing the offering, which is up for sale for the first time since it was originally developed in the mid-1960s, in conjunction with Michael Nees, David Huang and Simon Aldridge of Bayleys North Shore Commercial.

It is among a wide selection of commercial and industrial properties that will go under the hammer on September 13, unless sold prior to that date, as part of Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio auction.

“The property provides a good spread of income across several tenants in an established locality which makes it an ideal low risk investment,” says Kuang. “Modest rental rates in some of the tenancies with forthcoming rent reviews means that there will be an opportunity to increase the income return in the immediate future.

“Further out, the flexible zoning, coupled with 9-15 month demolition clauses in the majority of the leases, offers many development options, subject to obtaining the necessary resource consent.”

The Town Centre zone allows for a wide range of activities including commercial, residential, leisure, tourist, cultural, community and civic services. Increased height designations within the centres are designed to facilitate increased intensification, including office and residential activities on the upper levels.

Michael Nees says the site’s ridgeline position on the western side of Birkenhead Ave provides panoramic views out across Le Roys Bush to the Hauraki Gulf, the harbour bridge and the Auckland CBD.

“It is one property away from a new viewing platform, public plaza and cafe designed to take in those views which has recently been completed by Auckland Council as part of a rejuvenation programme for the Highbury Town Centre.”

The upper level of the building which fronts onto Birkenhead Ave contains two retail tenancies, the long established Tongue & Groove Cafe and the Majestic Barber Shop. There is an office to the rear also occupied by Tongue & Groove Cafe under a separate lease.

On the middle floor are two commercial suites, one of which is occupied by another longstanding tenant, the Birkenhead Avenue Dental Centre. A basement studio has a single 148sq m residential tenancy.

Nees says close to $115,000 of improvement work has been completed on the building over the last four years including new rear timber steps and a porch; replacing guttering and downpipes; new aluminium window and door joinery plus water proofing and painting for the rear wall; painting common areas; a new heat pump in the café; and a new kitchen unit and hot water cylinder in the barber’s shop.

The building can be accessed either from the main retail frontage and central foyer to the mid-level or from the rear where a set of steps provide access to the basement studio as well as continuing up to the middle level.

“Access to the rear of the property and unused land there means the site has real potential for a spectacular mixed-use development with residential on top to make the most of the views,” says Nees.

He says it benefits from a high profile positon in the Highbury town centre; alongside a pedestrian crossing and across the road from the ANZ Bank which backs onto the Highbury Mall, owned by New Zealand Retail Property Group (NZRPG).

“The NZRPG has ambitious plans to redevelop the mall to create an integrated, mixed-use centre which will include five apartment towers up to around 12 levels high, greater public amenities and an invigorated and substantially expanded shopping centre,” says Nees.

“It anticipates it will not only transform its own property, but be the catalyst for an acceleration of the ongoing gentrification of the Birkenhead town centre.”