Trophy Christchurch properties

1:38 PM Wednesday October 28, 2015 Colin Taylor

An elevated view of refurbished two-level building for sale at 131 Victoria St, Christchurch.

Countrywide Property is selling two neighbouring investment properties on Victoria St in Christchurch, through Savills.

A refurbished two-level building at 131 Victoria St, which is home to law firm Saunders & Co and Mexicano’s restaurant among other top-tier tenants, is for sale with a fully-leased car park next door at 133 Victoria St.

Together, the two titles generate annual net rental income of $766,813, with rent reviews built into the leases.

Jonathan Lyttle, managing director of Savills Christchurch, who is selling the properties by tender closing on November 19, says they occupy high profile sites on a popular hospitality, retail and office strip. “This spot on busy Victoria St is hard to beat as an investment location,” Lyttle says. “Add in a reputable developer, quality buildings and excellent tenant mix, and they have a very attractive set of investment fundamentals. The strong street profile will make them a sought-after addition to investors’ portfolios.

“In particular, the Saunders & Co building’s attractive, modern visual appearance and well-known tenants gives it real trophy value for potential buyers.”

Lyttle says the split risk characteristics of the properties will be a further drawcard. “Multi-tenanted investments like this are always popular, with buyers attracted to the reduced income risk. The leases all have good remaining terms so this really ticks a lot of boxes in terms of long term investment fundamentals.”

Law firm Saunders & Co occupies the upper level of 131 Victoria St, along with architects MAP and recruitment firms Hays and EQI Global. Tony Astle’s Mexicano’s restaurant and The Dirty Land cocktail bar lease the ground floor.

“The tenants provide strong covenants,” says Lyttle. “Saunders & Co is known as one of Christchurch’s top law firms and MAP has been involved in designing a large proportion of the city’s commercial rebuild projects. Mexicano’s restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in town and is always busy.”

Countrywide Property bought the earthquake-damaged 1655 sq m building, formerly occupied by Warren and Mahoney, and refurbished and strengthened it to 100 per cent of New Building Standard (NBS) in 2013, Lyttle says.

“The refurbishment has transformed the interior from a dated, partitioned office to a modern, open plan space with plenty of natural light and a contemporary fit out. Countrywide is now offering an A-grade asset to the market, in order to allocate capital to other projects it is working on.”

The car park at 133 Victoria St occupies the former site of the Department of Conservation and the 45 car parks are mainly leased to the tenants in 131 Victoria St.

Lyttle says the sale of the properties comes at a time when good quality property investments in Christchurch are in high demand and difficult to come by.

“Since the earthquakes, new or refurbished investment assets in good locations have been taken up quickly as they hit the market. Investors have recognised that in a low interest rate environment, commercial property offers a much better return than cash sitting in the bank. Even though prime commercial property yields have been trending downwards, the asset class still offers a very significant return margin over bank deposits.”

Jonathan Lyttle MD Savills Christchurch.jpg

Jonathan Lyttle, of Savills Christchurch