Manuka Health wants rid of Te Awamutu site

BIG INVESTMENT: The interior fit-out of  Manuka Health’s Te Awamutu plant should be completed by September.
BIG INVESTMENT: The interior fit-out of Manuka Health’s Te Awamutu plant should be completed by September.

Manuka Health is selling its new Te Awamutu building before it is even completed.

The company announced its intention to build the processing plant at 66 Paterangi Rd in 2012, and construction is expected to be finished late August this year. Now Manuka Health is looking to sell the site and lease it back from an investor.

Chief executive Kerry Paul said the company was not in the property market game. "We want to invest our capital into productive assets, and by getting our capital out of [the property], we can do that."

He said Manuka Health would invest the money in machines, research and development, and processing.

"All of those can generate a return for us."

The site has approximately 2800 square metres for future buildings, and Paul said the company expected to grow into that space with more storage, offices or processing area. It expected any purchaser to commit to further investment in the future.

"That's a requirement that any new owner has to enter into," Paul said.

He said the company was happy to kick off construction, but now "it's time to look at other options".

"We always wanted to take the initiative to make sure we get the facility we wanted," Paul said. "By owning that initially, we could determine exactly what we wanted."

Savills real estate agent Daniel Byrne said he was taking expression of interest, due next Friday.

"It does not make sense for an exporting business experiencing rapid growth to have working capital tied up in bricks and mortar, unless it is for strategic reasons."

The site comes with a 12-year lease agreement from Manuka Health, and two six-year rights of renewal. The rental income is $710,000 per annum.

"We've had interest from all types of investors but we thought it would suit quite well Hamilton or Waikato-based, high net worth, private guys."

Hawkins Construction is building the 3500sqm complex, with 3150sqm of warehousing, including a honey processing area, and 350sqm of offices at 66 Paterangi Rd.

The warehouse has a stud height of eight metres and on-site parking for 85 vehicles.

Byrne said the architecturally designed and landscaped property signified Manuka Health's confidence in its future operations and in Te Awamutu. "The property is well designed, offering generic warehouse and office space along with easy access and manoeuvring for heavy vehicles. The property has a presence and will set a benchmark for new buildings in the area," he said.