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Former Post Office building for sale

A two-level building on K Rd described as a striking example of 1970s’ modernist architecture is up for sale offering an immediate add value refurbishment opportunity.

The 1288 sq m building, designed in the early 1970s by architect Ron Sang, replaced a row of 19th century wooden shops on a 934 sq m site at 292-300 Karangahape Rd to make way for the Newton Post Office.

Alan Haydock and Cameron Melhuish of Bayleys Auckland City & Fringe commercial team have been appointed to sell the offering by tender closing 4.00 pm, December 5 and it will not be sold prior.

“This is one of K Rd’s true trophies, occupying a high profile site on the corner with East St, and providing an immediate opportunity to add value by refurbishing and leasing up the 352 sq m of street level space that NZ Post has recently vacated,” says Haydock.

“It is also only one block away from City Rail Link’s planned Karangahape station so offers a big opportunity to secure a prime position in what will become an increasing sought after location ahead of the station’s expected completion in 2024.”

The partially leased property is currently generating net annual rental income of $136,009 plus GST. The remaining ground floor retail space of approximately 213 sq m is currently occupied by the K’Rd Mart convenience store. Its tenancy dates back to 2003, with rights of renewal through to October 2024.

The upstairs area of 561.5 sq m encompasses a mix of office and exhibition space which is leased to Artspace (Aoeteroa) Trust, another well-established tenant which has been in occupation since 2005 and has prominent corner signage on the building.

Artspace is a non-profit art institution, dedicated to researching, commissioning and presenting new ideas in art culture, which receives major public funding from Creative New Zealand. Its current lease expires on January 1 next year with two three- year rights of renewal, which if exercised, would take it through until the end of 2024.

On the basement level accessed from the rear of the building, ex-mail sorting areas are now used for storage with Artspace also leasing 74.5 sq m of this space. A further 70 sq m in the basement is currently vacant and could be handy for an occupant of the empty ground floor retail space, Haydock says.

A Kiwibank ATM machine forms part of the street frontage of the vacant retail area and while there is no formal lease in place for this, Kiwibank is interested in retaining this site, says Melhuish. “They would be happy to enter into a new lease for a nine-year period with rental to be agreed with the new owner.”

There are also six carparks located at the rear of the building, with access from East St, which are allocated to building tenants.

Melhuish says the building has a favourable earthquake assessment (71 per cent of New Building Standard) – a rarity on K Road.

The former Ministry of Works government department managed the construction of the Newton Post Office, which was completed in 1974, and also commissioned the architectural firm of Mark-Brown, Fairhead & Sang to design it.

“The building is widely recognised as a striking example of modernist architecture,” Melhuish says. “Its distinctive shape, flat roof, differentiation of uses, metal framed glazing and the high stud open plan interiors are synonymous with this style of architecture which has come back into vogue. Much of the upstairs area features polished concrete floors, with an elegant high stud and significant glazing providing well lit, character spaces.”

On the exterior of the stairwell tower leading upstairs, which is one of the building’s features, is a bronze bas-relief by noted New Zealand Chinese painter and sculptor Guy Ngan. The work is one of many Ngan completed on behalf of the Ministry of Works for public buildings.

“The property’s large corner landholding with its dual street frontages and favourable Business - City Centre zoning provides future opportunities to add value through refurbishment, leasing and development,” Melhuish says.

The City Centre zone permits a wide range of activities including offices, retail, residential, commercial services, entertainment facilities, visitor accommodation and boarding houses. There is a maximum height allowance for the location of 35 metres with a basic 4:1 Floor Area Ratio and maximum ratio of 6:1.

The completion of the CRL will undoubtedly add to the longer-term development potential of 292-300 Karangahape Rd, Haydock says. “Just as the tram once transformed K Rd into a sophisticated shopping and entertainment district, the advent of the CRL will have a huge impact on this location and speed up the current transformation of what then became a red light district into one of the central Auckland’s most vibrant commercial, retail and residential hubs.The new CRL station is set to become the catalyst for K Road’s next regeneration with most of the surrounding area zoned for more intensive use.”

The planned Karangahape Station on Mercury Lane will be a short walk away from 292-300 Karangahape Rd. A laneway between Mercury Lane and East Street will enhance the connectivity of the station to the adjoining precinct west of its entrance, says Haydock.

“The laneway will also provide an opportunity for boutique retail and eateries to thrive and build on K Road’s growing reputation as a location rich in amenity with award winning cafes and restaurants as well as a wide range of retail offerings,” says Haydock.

The planned Karangahape station is designed to cater for an anticipated 6,000 commuters at peak time. Melhuish says the CRL will drastically reduce travel times to and from K Road, making it a desirable inner city location for businesses, workers and residents alike. It will take only three minutes to get from Mt Eden station to Karangahape, or three minutes from there to Aotea Station on Victoria St and another three minutes to Britomart.

Over the next few years, Melhuish says the K Road street environment will be transformed by a joint project called Karangahape Road Enhancement – a collaboration between Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and central Government. “The aim of this $16 million initiative is to make K Road safer and more appealing in advance of the CRL station opening,” he says

Planned improvements include separated cycleways in both directions, peak hour bus lanes, bus stop relocations, rain gardens with trees and landscaping, changes to parking, upgraded street lighting, cycle parking, street furniture and art, and opportunities for outdoor dining and street activities.

Ex Newton Post Office located on a large corner site near the planned CRL underground station

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