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Historic Church Among Three Khyber Pass Properties For Sale

A portfolio of three properties for sale on the Khyber Pass ridge in Grafton, one of which includes a heritage church, offers a range of development, add-value and community use opportunities.

The offering comprises:

  • 68 Khyber Pass Rd: an under-developed 1,811sqm site with a variety of low-rise buildings.
  • 70 Khyber Pass Rd: home to St David’s Presbyterian Church built in 1927 with a Heritage A historical protection classification.
  • 3 Madeira Lane: located at the rear of the church, a 432sqm site with three street frontages which is currently undeveloped and is leased out car parking.

The Presbyterian Church Property Trustees owns all three adjoining properties, located on separate titles, and has appointed Bayleys Real Estate sole agents to sell the portfolio by tender, closing at 4.00pm, Thursday on June 3, unless sold prior. Senior brokers Sunil Bhana, Cameron Melhuish and Mike Houlker are marketing the offering, with tenders able to be made for one, two or all three of the properties.

“St David’s church has the highest possible heritage classification which requires its breath-taking character features to be retained,” says Bhana. “There is an amazing opportunity here to secure this iconic building’s long-term future by improving its seismic rating and restoring it to its former glory. It would suit a variety of potential uses including continued community use.”

Bhana says the two other under-utilised sites have significant development potential given their strong CBD fringe location and their Auckland Unitary Plan mixed use zoning.

Northern Presbytery executive officer Dr Rod Watts said as is the case with many churches, attendance numbers have fallen over the years with a consequent move away from large places of worship to smaller community focused parishes. “Part of the building is also classified as earthquake prone and the presbytery simply does not have the substantial funds required to strengthen it to meet council requirements.

“We’re respectful of the history of St David’s in the area and its legacy and encourage community groups to engage in the tender process either as prospective purchasers or tenants.”

Made of Oamaru stone and dark red Kamo pressed brick, the 1250 sq m church was in part a memorial to members of the St David’s congregation who lost their lives in World War 1. Its foundation stone was laid on Anzac Day 1927.

Located on a 2,160 sq m site, the church was designed by architect Daniel Patterson who also designed the Auckland Central Fire Station. Its elegant chancel (interior) with an 11.6m high roof height was added in 1937 to the design of renowned architect Horace Massey.

Features include stunning leadlight windows which have significant cultural and heritage value. Original rose-coloured windows date from 1927 while colourful War Memorial windows were added around 1947 in memorium to those who served in both World Wars.

All three properties are being offered for sale with vacant possession, although it could be possible to continue with some of the existing tenancy arrangements to provide holding income, says Bhana.

The property at 68 Khyber Pass Rd accommodates just over a 1000sq m of buildings located towards the rear of the site with access from both Khyber Pass and Madeira Lane. A wooden hall is leased by another church while an adjoining annexe is used by a kindergarten.

Around one third of the site with frontage onto Khyber Pass is undeveloped grassed land, although part of this area has been fenced off for the kindergarten’s playground and there are sealed car parks along its eastern side.

The 3 Madeira Lane site, which is sealed with 18 delinated carparks, is also generating rental income from a car parking operator. It has frontage to and access from Madeira Place and Burton St as well.

Melhuish says the two development sites’ Business–Mixed Use zoning allows for a range of possible building heights, depending on context, up to 21 metre high. A wide range of uses, including residential, is allowed under this zoning.

Melhuish says neighbouring properties comprise mostly medium-height office buildings on Khyber Pass and apartment buildings on Madeira Lane which make the most of Khyber Ridge’s elevated views of the CBD, Waitemata Harbour and harbour bridge.

He says one of the location’s big attractions is its proximity to the Mt Eden train station which will be a major terminal forming part of the Auckland City Rail Link. Just a short walk away, it will service both the existing Western Line and the CRL lines to Britomart.

CRL has purchased 2.4ha of property for the new underground station with over 100,000 sq m of commercial and residential investment planned for the land above it. “This is of a similar scale to Britomart and the master-planned development will undoubtedly bring a huge amount of new activity and add significant further value to the surrounding area,” says Melhuish. “The three properties for sale are also just a short drive to the Auckland CBD and Newmarket, with access to and from the southern motorway a short distance way further down Khyber Pass.”

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