Caption: The Castle Pamela in Tirau is known for housing Australasia’s biggest doll collection but there is scope to turn it into a hospitality venue.
Joust for the record – castle placed on the market for sale
A castle housing New Zealand’s biggest doll and toy collection has been placed on the market for sale.
The Castle Pamela in the Waikato township of Tirau is one of the region’s best-known tourist attractions.
The 825m2 property sits on 2.88ha over two titles overlooking rolling countryside, and is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Hamilton through private treaty, with offers closing on April 6.
Bayleys agent Blair Hutcheson says the sale is a rare opportunity for someone to own not only their own castle – with moat – but also develop and operate a landmark tourist destination.
"The toy collection is the largest of its kind in Australasia and includes numerous rarities from the 19th century, as well as limited edition All Blacks dolls and classic Fun Ho! Toys from the 1930s," Mr Hutcheson says.
“There is the potential to purchase not just the land and buildings, but the doll and toy museum business and chattels too.
“The museum is a turn-key operation, although there are numerous opportunities to grow revenue streams, including expanding its potential as a large-scale hospitality and function venue.
“The castle contains multiple function rooms, a café and dining area, and additional floor space for retail ventures. An investor could lease out the business operations to a tenant, or take charge of it themselves."
The castle was built 17 years
ago by entrepreneurs Kelvin and Pamela Baker and has
attracted hundreds of thousands of domestic and
international visitors. The couple chose the location for
its picturesque setting, proximity to State Highway 1 and
placement within the "golden tourism triangle" of Auckland,
Rotorua and Waitomo.
On the ground floor, are a dining hall and café, an adjoining room for the doll and toy museum and a separate room, named the “Stag Hall.”
Currently not open to the public are two additional spaces; one originally designed as a commercial kitchen and an additional breakout room presently used for storage.
A yet-to-be-completed mezzanine area is designed to include toilet and bathroom facilities with three separate rooms and balcony to the fully enclosed courtyard. One of the castle’s turrets has a stairway to a viewing platform.
The grounds include landscaped gardens, a moat with gold fish, extensive parking and a paved outdoor dining area.
Also included in the sale is a 241sqm house with three bedrooms and an adjoining large double garage/workshop.
Mr Hutcheson says the property presented numerous opportunities for shrewd investors.
“Potential buyers could either lease out the business operations to a tenant, or take charge of it themselves. With two land titles, there is an opportunity to develop the residential component or on-sell the separate vacant residential lots.
“The vendors recently gained a resource consent to use the premises as a large-scale hospitality and function venue. The Castle could cater to large groups of up to 300, and host a diverse range of events, from business conferences and weddings to unique dining experiences or corporate team-building activities.”
Mr Hutcheson says there was scope for a developer to capitalise on The Castle’s reputation and unique architecture by turning it into an accommodation venue, such as a luxury resort-style lodge.”
“Either would meet the growing demand for quality accommodation from increasing tourist numbers, as well as the ongoing trend for the New Zealand population to move Southward,” he says.
Such opportunities are in keeping with both the South Waikato Council’s long-term economic strategy — to assist existing business and to grow visitor expenditure to $1.35 billion by 2025 — as well as the Waikato Tourism’s priority to find new and compelling tourism opportunities.
“The support of both these initiatives make the property a compelling proposition,” Mr Hutcheson says.
“Tirau is a popular stop for visitors travelling South from Auckland and North from Taupo and Rotorua. The township is close to many tourist highlights, including the Hobbiton set used in Sir Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, as well as natural attractions such as the Okoroire Hot Springs, Te Waihou walkway and the Waikato river trails.
“With visitor numbers to New Zealand at historic levels, those in Tirau’s tourism and hospitality industry are well placed to take advantage of the boom.”
Mr Hutcheson adds: “Kelvin and Pamela built The Castle Pamela in 2000 to showcase their extensive collection, which they started back in 1986.
“They have run a successful business from the building for the last 17 years and The Castle Pamela is now recognised as a popular tourist destination, both nationally and internationally.”