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Pub almost lost ‘in-the-drink’ now for Sale

Pub almost lost ‘in-the-drink’ now for Sale

Guests at the iconic Maungaturoto Hotel sit drinking their pints mostly unaware of the building's checkered history.

More than a century ago the classic Kiwi pub was almost lost at sea on two occasions as it made the treacherous journey north via the Manukau and Kaipara Harbours by tug, barge and cattle punt.

The tenanted freehold property is now on the market for sale with Bayleys sales and leasing agents Brian Caldwell and Michael Nees by way of private treaty closing on Thursday August 13 at 4pm.

In 1902 the owner of a popular brewery purchased the liquor license for transfer to the current site of the Maungaturoto Hotel, and under the law of the time had a limited period within which to construct his new premises.

Poor weather, a leaky vessel and drunken crewmembers hampered the transport process and builders then had a race against time to piece together the prefabricated hotel on-site before the liquor license transfer period lapsed.

Fortunately for them, and those who now frequent the Maungaturoto Hotel, they managed to erect a single frame, hang a door and nail the license to it on the day the transfer period was due to expire.

Situated on State Highway 12, around 62 kilometres south of Whangarei, the Maungaturoto Hotel has since enjoyed almost cult status among local residents and travelers passing through on their way to Langs, Waipu and popular holiday spots further north.

The Maungaturoto Hotel has a loyal customer base as it is one of the only liquor outlets in the area, alongside a supermarket and a handful of sports clubs.

Mr Caldwell said it presents an opportunity to purchase a piece of New Zealand’s heartland history and what is the focal point of the rural and expanding lifestyle community.

“If the Maungaturoto’s walls could talk she would have some great yarns to spin. This is a much loved part of the community and one that is ripe for redevelopment.

“We have seen some shining examples of taverns like this. Look at the Matakana Pub, it has undergone something of a renaissance thanks to a facelift, a menu rethink and owners that are willing to inject some innovation into their business,” Mr Caldwell said.

According to the Kaipara District Plan, the Maungaturoto Hotel is listed as being of heritage value.

Mr Caldwell said that in general terms this means that the exterior of the building must be retained, but modernization of the interior is likely permitted to allow for the ongoing use of the building.

“It was originally built circa 1902 by Johnny Rowe who was the Mayor of Onehunga at the time. Later additions were made in the 1960s and it has been well looked after since,” he said.

The current tenants have occupied the premises since April 2012 on a 10 year term, producing a net annual income of $57,200.

The landmark two-storey building and car parking is held in four contiguous titles totaling an area of 3.27 acres, with a parcel of undeveloped grazing land to the rear of the hotel.

Kaipara District Council planning maps show the land to be zoned commercial, with the adjoining parcel of land zoned rural.

The ground floor area of the hotel building is 360sqm, including a dining room with an open fireplace and capacity to seat 35 people, and a kitchen with an original Shacklock Coalburner, gas cooker and two large stainless steel food preparation areas. French doors lead from the sports bar out to a partially covered verandah that overlooks a bandstand green and barbecue area.

The upper accommodation level measures 234sqm made up of the manager’s accommodation, three double bedrooms, a bathroom and French doors that open to a verandah overlooking the carpark area.

A 180kg lift from the cellar beneath the storage room allows supplies to be transported easily to the kitchen, bar and chiller.

The current tenants offer guests a choice of eight fully furnished rooms in double and twin configurations for $60 per night, or single configurations for $40 per night.

The property is piquing the interests of developers, long term investors and tavern operators that can envision its potential, Mr Caldwell said.

“It is just a short drive from State Highway One, the main arterial route that feeds all of the popular holiday destinations north of Auckland.

“Potential buyers would be well positioned to draw from this holiday traffic and look to establish the premises as an entertainment venue akin to the Mangawhai Tavern, Leigh Sawmill Café and Coroglen Tavern,” he said.

Maungaturoto is a quiet service centre for the surrounding rural community and retains one of two large Fonterra milk processing plants in Northland that serves as one of the main employers in the district.

Within the township are a range of shops, grocery outlets, vehicle servicing and medical centres. Nearby Whangarei and Wellsford provide a wider range of retail, professional and commercial services, and Auckland city is less than 90 minutes drive south on the holiday highway.

Primary and secondary schooling is available within close driving distance including Otamatea High School, Maungaturoto Primary School and Otamatea Christian School.

“The classic Kiwi tavern is an enduring piece of our national heritage and something that I don’t see ever falling out of favour with customers. But the bones are there to take this property to the next level and develop it into a destination, rather than a pitstop,” Mr Caldwell said.

For further information about the Maungaturoto Hotel please contact Bayleys sales and leasing agent Brian Caldwell on 027 4815 505 or Bayleys sales and leasing consultant Michael Nees on 021 182 3085.

The property is for sale by private treaty closing at 4pm on Thursday August 13.

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