Auckland's commercial property sales

A waterfront office block in downtown Auckland has sold for an undisclosed sum, while an east Auckland shopping centre with high-density housing potential is looking for buyers.

AECOM House, a landmark commercial building located in Auckland's Quay Park precinct, has been sold to the landowner, Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Rawa.

The sale was conducted privately on behalf of Harbour 5, owned by interests associated with the Russell family, which opened the eight-level, 12,992 square metre building on the site last year.

Another family company held the ground lease interest, which has also been sold to Whai Rawa.
The property has an 8 per cent yield.

Ngarimu Blair, a director of Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Rawa, said it was the hapu's first significant acquisition since the iwi's Treaty settlement in 2012, and its first acquisition of an office building.

"We are very happy to have entered into this agreement," Blair said.

"Quay Park has a strong future as a key precinct, and acting on this opportunity now also enables us to take a first step in diversifying our commercial property portfolio away from residential landholdings and ground lessors' interests."

Whai Rawa would be developing a detailed plan to reinvigorate the precinct, he said.

Harbour 5, which holds other assets in the precinct, said that being able to sell the building to the underlying landowner and maintain long-term New Zealand ownership were key factors in the sale.

The deal was brokered by CBRE and Colliers International.

Brent McGregor, senior managing director at CBRE said that with A-grade buildings in the city becoming tightly held, it was not surprising that the ground lessor had acquired AECOM House.

Meanwhile, one of the country's first shopping centres, Pakuranga Plaza, has been put on the market.

Originally opened in 1965 as the AMP-owned Pakuranga Town Centre, the mall retains little of its original 1960s open-air appearance and has close to 100 tenants.

But it is its significant development potential under the Auckland Council Unitary Plan that is expected to appeal to many buyers.

The property covers just under 4 hectares and is being offered for sale by Ladstone Holdings, which bought it off Australia-based shopping centre giant Westfield in late 2012.

The area is zoned Business 2 but under the council unitary plan, the site's town centre would allow for a wider range of development, including residential and leisure activities.

Ladstone has drawn up concept plans for five 10 to 12-storey apartment buildings on top of existing retail buildings, providing up to 1000 apartments.

David Bayley, of Bayleys Real Estate, said the property had three components: a retail area and the four-level Plaza office tower; The Warehouse Plaza and a range of speciality strip retailers; and a standalone Plaza Business Centre.

Gross lettable area was 29,541sqm with the potential to generate net annual income of about $8.3 million.

Ladstone Holding's chief executive Kim Bennett said the centre served a catchment area, similar to the size of a city like Dunedin, and supported a lot of community initiatives including a night market.

Bayley said Pakuranga Plaza's primary catchment area's population was forecast to grow by 31 per cent over the next decade, driving demand for increased amenities.

"Auckland Council has identified Pakuranga as a town which, over the course of the next 30 years, can accommodate population and business growth and it is developing a master plan to make Pakuranga an even more vibrant town.

"The plan recognises that while the town cannot grow out in size it can grow up in quantity, quality and market attractiveness."

Bayley said the vendor preferred to sell the property in its entirety but would consider separate tenders.

Tenders for the mall close on October 29.