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PlaceMakers HQ up for sale

PlaceMakers HQ up for sale – and mooted to become a medical services or education hub

The land and buildings housing the headquarters for leading home building supplies retailer PlaceMakers have been placed on the market for sale - with a forecast that the premises could be converted into multi-purpose medical hub…. or a school campus.

The property at 150 Marua Road on the Ellerslie/Mt Wellington border in Auckland features some 3,392 square metres of campus-like commercial premises spread over eight split levels, and sitting on 10,498 square metres of freehold land.

The building was originally designed for aggregates and building supply company Winstones, which operated the nearby quarry which has subsequently gone on to become the residential enclave known as Stonefields. At its peak, the Marua Road building was home to some 300 administrative staff.

At the time of opening in 1973, the Marua Road office space design was considered to be ‘greenie’ and ‘radical’ because it featured staff health and wellbeing amenities. These included a squash court and gymnasium, with the various building wings constructed around a central Japanese-themed garden containing a sunken koi carp pond surrounded by Zen-inspired shrubbery.

With covered walkways linking up the various levels of commercial spaces, the complex was designed without any elevators – thereby encouraging staff to exercise and walk up stairwells contained in large concrete towers at the end of each wing.

Now the property, which is zoned for light industry use under the Auckland Unitary Plan, is being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Auckland, with tenders closing at 4pm on December 7.

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PlaceMakers is currently on a lease at 150 Marua Road, with the tenancy expiring in June next year. PlaceMakers pays a pro-rata annual rental of $561,627 plus GST.

Bayleys Auckland salespeople Stephen Scott, James Valintine and Scott Campbell said that while the property had been operating as a commercial office premises since its construction in the early ‘70s, subject to council consent, there was considerable potential to reinvigorate its use to reflect a new dynamic – principally driven by the population growth in the surrounding residential suburbs of Stonefields, Panmure, Ellerslie, and Mt Wellington.

“Already, two clear development opportunity themes have come through for future potential use of the site – education and healthcare, both of which are racing to keep pace with the area’s surge in resident numbers over the past decade,” Mr Scott said.

“Both state sector and private primary, intermediate, and secondary schools are struggling to provide more and more classroom space to take on their growing role numbers, driven by housing intensification in Central East Auckland.

“This has seen numerous schools canablise ‘greenfield’ grassed playing fields, add additional storeys on top of existing classroom blocks and structures, or take on and reconfigure adjacent commercial space to provide new campus space in their catchment areas.

“With multiple access points, and a modular style interior layout already replicating a tertiary education facility, the property at 150 Marua Road could easily be converted into a standalone teaching location as an adjunct to existing classrooms,” Mr Scott added.

‘The building complex is in a condition which would be expected of structures built some 44 years ago. While structurally sound and with a new building standard rating of 68 percent, the buildings would benefit from a refurbishment and modernisaton to increase the efficiency and functionality.”

Mr Valintine said the modular style interior lay-out of the property with its various interlinked wings and multiple ‘zones’ had also been identified as suitable for remodeling into a one-stop medical services hub - with a wide range of various healthcare practices operating complimentary to each other.

“Such a shared-premises model could see the likes of a radiololgy clinic, chiropractic practitioner, orthopedic clinic, optometrists, physiotherapists studio, dental clinic, audiology clinic, pharmacy, general practitioner, and blood testing laboratory all operating under one roof as a veritable ‘one-stop-shop’ for medical and healthcare requirements,” Mr Valintine said.

“For this perspective, one of the big attractions of the property in its current format is the 166 allocated car parks available on site and three separate vehicle entry points – including a docking bay suitable for receiving ambulance patients. The property has a 159 metre frontage onto Marua Road.

“Being located immediately next door to Ryman Healthcare’s expansive Sir Edmund Hillary retirement village with several hundred residents aged 65-plus, there is an obvious target market for clientele who would utilise such a facility,” Mr Valintine added.

Auckland council’s current light industry zoning for the Marua Road property allows for activities which do not generate objectionable odour, dust or noise emissions.

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