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YWCA Sale Of Central City Site Opens Up A Host Of Possibilities

A substantial commercial building and land holding on the fringe of Auckland’s CBD which has housed the YWCA’s Auckland hostel for over 20 years will offer a multitude of options for its next owner.

The 1,324sqm freehold site and the seven-level 3,160sqm building located on it at 103 Vincent St are being offered for sale with vacant possession by the YWCA.

Chief executive officer Delwyn Stuart says the hostel was established in 1999 with two main purposes: to provide safe and friendly accommodation in central Auckland for young women, with a number of female-only floors, and to also generate revenue to help cover the operational costs of the YWCA’s community programmes.

“The funds raised through the hostel operation have enabled the YWCA to work with and on behalf of young women delivering leadership programmes and advocating for changes to create a more gender equal Aotearoa New Zealand,” she says.

“However, a combination of refreshing our investment strategy and the impacts of closed borders have led to a decision to sell the Vincent Street property and reinvest so we can continue to fund our work in partnership with others who are committed to creating a more equal country.”

Bayleys Real Estate has been appointed to sell the property by tender closing Thursday December 2, unless sold prior. One of the trophy offerings in Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio, it is being marketed by Mike Adams and Jean-Paul Smit of the agency’s city & fringe division in conjunction with strategic advisory director Paula Bennett.

The YWCA purchased the property from NZ Police which had used it as barracks for staff based at the neighbouring Auckland Central Police Station. The building underwent a major reconfiguration to create more rooms with a seven-level wing extension added at the northern end of the hostel in 2004.

Paula Bennett says the building currently has 173 bedrooms offering short or long stay accommodation. “It has supported thousands of people over the years and has been a loved home to a mix of domestic and international residents, run by an outstanding team.

“I have enormous respect for the work YWCA does in the community and it is a privilege to work with them to help sell this property to enable them to enhance the wide-ranging support and advocacy they provide for women and girls.”

Mike Adams says a variety of significant upgrade works have been undertaken to the building by YWCA since 2016 including ongoing refurbishment of bedrooms and bathrooms, asbestos removal and fire safety and seismic upgrades.

The ground level comprises a large, shared kitchen and dining area with adjoining breakout and study areas, a self-contained manager’s apartment, offices and a reception area. The six levels above contain the majority of the bedrooms. Each level has its own bathrooms and laundry.

“The building has been maintained in very good condition by the YWCA so there’s no reason why a new owner couldn’t continue to run it along similar lines, offering good quality, affordable accommodation at the backpacker or budget end of the market,” says Adams.

“Alternatively, the floors could be reconfigured into a smaller number of larger rooms, with ensuites. The building also has an A Grade seismic assessment and it might also be possible to add further floors, although this would require further investigation.”

Adams says while the current building will have appeal to a range of accommodation providers, the site is relatively underutilised for a property in such a central location. “Close to half of the land area is currently used to provide open-air customer parking at the rear of the property. Better use could be made of this area and the site’s zoning would allow for more intensive development to a higher level, subject to obtaining the necessary council consents.”

The property’s City Centre zoning allows for the highest density development under the Auckland Unitary Plan and permits a wide range of activities that ‘help make the inner city a vibrant place to live, work, learn and visit’. This location has a basic floor area ratio for development of 4:1 up to a maximum of 6:1 and a height limit of 50m.

Adams says the property’s underlying land value is likely to be increased by any development of the adjoining 4,500 sq m land holding at the intersection of Vincent St and Cook St which housed the Auckland Central Police Station for close to half a century until its relocation to College Hill in 2019.

“This elevated site has a massive corner profile, and a large-scale redevelopment should have a very positive spin off for surrounding property owners. A small part of the police site extends behind the YWCA building which makes 103 Vincent a very strategically positioned property.”

Jean-Paul Smit says 103 Vincent St is a generally level site with approximately 50 metres of road frontage, giving it high exposure to large volumes of traffic which use Vincent St to travel into and out of the CBD. The surrounding area comprises a mix of residential, office and hotel accommodation with the Grand Millennium Hotel located on the other side of the street.

“The property will benefit further from major transport and amenity upgrades which are currently underway or planned for this location including the Auckland City Rail Link,” Smit says.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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