A fully-leased character building in Willis Street, Wellington which has been home to some of the capital’s most memorable restaurants has been placed on the market for sale.
The striking blue two-level building, located close to where Willis Street intersects with Manners Street, dates back to the early-1900s. The ground floor has been occupied by successful casual eatery Burger Liquor since 2014, while upstairs, co-working space provider Digital Nomad, occupies the entire floor.
Long-time Wellington residents will remember the days when the building housed Casablanca Restaurant, then the cowboy-themed establishment Armadillo’s, followed by a couple of incarnations of the Crazy Horse Steakhouse.
The 580sqm building which includes a basement and additional storage area with roller door, sits on a compact 214sqm site which has one boundary to Ellers Avenue.
The Central Area-zoned property at 129-131 Willis Street has a net income of around $170,000 per annum plus GST. Burger Liquor’s lease runs until the end of 2030, while Digital Nomad’s has an expiry of 2026 with a further one, 6-year right of renewal.
The property will be auctioned at 11am Thursday, 8th July and is being marketed by Fraser Press and Mark Walker of Bayleys Wellington Commercial
Press said Burger Liquor is part of a respected stable of hospitality operations including Monsoon Poon and Boulcott Street Bistro and has continued to trade strongly despite the disruptors of 2020.
“Burger Liquor has stamped its mark on the capital’s dining and bar scene in more ways than one – with attention-attracting street murals painted on the Manners Street side of the landmark building.
“America muralist Steiner painted two works in 2015 – a five-eyed cheetah and a shark – while Wellington street artist Chimp, is behind the two portraits on the same wall.”
Press explained that the building was fully-refurbished and seismically-upgraded to 80 percent new building standard in 2019-2020, with strengthening carried out by structural engineers Silvester Clark.
“At this time the building was re-roofed – including insulation – had new double glazed windows fitted, a new fire protection system, and new wiring and plumbing installed,” he said,
“The restaurant interiors were designed by local company esdesign when Burger Liquor first opened, while the first floor office fitout is by First Light Studio.”
With co-working and a more distributed model of office working being seen post-COVID, Walker describes Digital Nomad’s office component of the property as “some of the coolest office space in Wellington”.
“It’s got that New York loft vibe with exposed brick walls, open ceiling truss system, polished floors and deck area – it’s really a good looking working environment and has its own separate access.”
There are a number of new intensified residential developments under construction in the immediate catchment, and this end of Willis Street is now very much part of the city’s core.
“This offering would suit a passive long-term investor who recognises the strength of the existing tenant covenant, but also appreciates the underlying value of land in this fast-evolving part of the CBD,” said Walker.