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Rich lister has huge faith in Christchurch Industrial market

Rich lister has huge faith in Christchurch Industrial market

Christchurch, 26 September 2017 - Simon Henry’s interest in the Christchurch commercial property market doesn’t look like waning any time soon.

These days the $165 million rich lister is fixing his investment sights on the Christchurch industrial sector. Through his company, Rapaki Property Group, he’s well advanced in developing the 60ha Belfast Business Park, with an estimated end value of $400 million, and has just added to his portfolio by purchasing a 4.66ha industrial property with 29,000sqm of surplus development land in the tightly held location of Sockburn.

Henry bought the sprawling land from BOC Limited, a member of the global gas giant Linde Group, which is rationalising its local operations and has taken a long-term lease on part of the property. The deal was brokered by Sam Staite, Director of Industrial Sales and Leasing at Colliers International in Christchurch.

Located at 21 Epsom Road, the property has a long history of use by BOC Gases as a gas cylinder re-filling plant, as well as a gas equipment retail and service centre and spent cylinder store. First occupied in the 1950s with a gas filling facility, subsequent development was carried out in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

It’s a good fit for Henry, who is no stranger to the business of managing dangerous chemicals and the accompanying complexities. While property investment occupies about a third of Henry’s time, the rest is operating his chemical logistics, water and waste treatment companies in New Zealand and Australia. The one-time bee-keeper today describes property investment as a “pleasurable hobby.”

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Born and bred in Rangiora, Canterbury, Henry made his early forays into the commercial property market after the infamous 1987 share market crash. One of his most significant such purchases was the former Farmers site in Cashel Street – later home to the IRD office block, which he sold to the Government in 2016.

Henry originally picked up the block for a paltry $600,000 post crash and hasn’t looked back since, subsequently investing in Wellington, Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne.

So why industrial property in Christchurch now? Quite simply, Henry says Christchurch represents good value for money while the other markets are probably over-priced.

“It’s a good place to do business and I know the market. In other markets, there’s a lot of foreign money coming in and it can be a bit blind – it tends to be more about money looking for a home rather than money looking for a good investment. What that means is that ultimately prices can be out of

touch with a property’s intrinsic value. Christchurch hasn’t really been affected by that. It’s a good stable market that I understand and I’m sure I will be investing there for many years to come.”

In this vein, Henry says he will continue to invest in the industrial sector and has several projects in advanced negotiations.

“I’m a bit of an opportunist when it comes to property but I do like the underlying land value when it comes to industrial property.”

Staite says there is still a keen appetite for industrial property in Christchurch.

“The market is still very buoyant with low industrial vacancy. Business confidence is high and the local economy is performing well, which is driving strong growth. The industrial property market is still seen as providing a lot of value add opportunities that are harder to find in other centres.

“The Christchurch industrial property market is still highly sought and large underlying land holdings attract interest from wide and far.”

For further information, please contact:

Sam Staite, 03 365 7887, 021 738 245, sam.staite@colliers.com


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