The site on Carruth St, central Whangārei, (in blue) that has previously been tagged as a potential $60m hotel site, is up for sale while being used as a carpark. Photo / Supplied
A prominent central Whangārei property that has previously been tagged as a potential $60 million hotel and retail site is up for sale, with a number of other options for the site, including apartments or
The high-profile development site at 22 Carruth St,will likely appeal to developers or owner-occupiers who will have the opportunity to acquire a corner location in Whangārei’s increasingly popular Town Basin area.
It’s a flat, 2638sq m freehold site that is zoned Mixed Use Zone under the Whangārei District Plan. It’s opposite Pak ‘N Save and across the road from the Town Basin developments. It’s rateable value is $2.6 million and it has access from Carruth, Reyburn and Robert Streets.
The site is being used as a carpark and is leased to the Whangārei District Council (WDC) but there is a three-month termination clause in place, which can be activated to kickstart development of the property for the new owner.
The net annual rental income from the site is $151,604 plus GST, but the loss of carparking on the site will add to the lack of parking options in and around the Town Basin, unless a developer built a facility with public carparking there.
The site is owned by Whangārei businessman Sid Anderson, who in November 2021, proposed a new $60 million hotel and retail development at the site.
Anderson said at the time the development was due for completion in 2023 on the prime Whangārei Town Basin site, but a decision has now been made to sell the site for another development.
Anderson said then his Town Basin Quarter project would not be dependent on ratepayer contributions. He was proposing a six-storey, mixed-use development, including a 4.5-star hotel, possible with a conference centre above, along with retail and office space.
However, with exposure to Carruth, Dent and Reyburn Streets, the property offers multiple road frontages.
Anderson said yesterday he had been exploring a number of options for the site and had spent four years getting the land freehold from the Northland Regional Council.
He had been dealing with a hotel group keen to build there that had been passed on to him by WDC, but as the council was looking at developing hotels on some of its land, he had given up on that idea.
”They saw it’s the entrance to the Town Basin and were keen to put a hotel there. We progressed quite well down that track, but we’ve had enough and decided to focus on something else.”
Anderson was working on another development elsewhere and felt the time was right to put the land up for sale to see what another developer could do there.
”When I spoke to (real estate company) Colliers they recognised a very high demand in the CBD for quality office space, and we had been working on that, a retail space with four levels of quality office space. And while we were looking at that we found there was a very high demand for retail so we thought let’s see what other ideas people have.
”It’s a great site and with other developments, like the Hundertwasser and wider Town basin, it’s a good time to see what a developer can come up with. Whangārei is growing fast (it’s the fastest-growing region in New Zealand) with a lot of people coming to the area and we will need more infrastructure to support them.”
Town Basin retailers and visitors have long bemoaned the lack of parking there, with a number of car-parking spaces lost in recent years as the Town Basin has developed.
Stuart Peters, Trade Manager at the Resene Automotive & Light Industrial store bordering the car-park site, said parking is already tight in the area and he hoped any development would include car parking.
Peters said he would like to see more development on the site and he hoped it would be something that added to the area and fitted in with the Town Basin.
He said the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery and other Town Basin developments were good and attracted people to the area.
”I’d like them to extend that development onto this side of the road to link it all together. I thought that was the original idea,” he said. “I just think they need to have more things here for people to do.”
Colliers brokers Nigel Ingham and Daniel Sloper, who have exclusive marketing rights, are taking expressions of interest with a deadline of 4 pm on November 10, unless sold prior.
Ingham, director at Colliers Whangārei, said the zoning presents buyers with a range of options and the tenant, WDC, is extremely keen to have this strategic site developed to activate the revitalisation of the CBD.
“The Mixed Use Zone is a favourable land-use zone that offers a blank canvas for a diverse range of uses and commercial activities, including residential activities, commercial services, retail activities, visitor accommodation, and community activities,” Ingham said.
“The zone promotes active street frontages and a range of activities which aim to enhance economic growth and are compatible with residential activities. The maximum building height and major structure height is between 16m and 21m above ground level as long as you provide two or more residential units on site or a through-site link. This offers significant flexibility for prospective purchasers who can create a development that will contribute to the cityscape of Whangārei.
“Given there is substantial holding income available for the new owner through the current tenant, buyers will be able to plan their next moves for the site with the support of a steady rental stream.”
Ingham said the company had been asked to find A-grade office space in the city, but had not been able to find any that was available so he started approaching businesspeople to see if any could be developed and approached Anderson.
Ingham said he has already received plenty of interest from retailers and developers for the site, but, as none of them were able to do the development themselves, a decision was made to sell the land and let a major developer have a go.
He said if the new developer wanted to, he already had a list of suitable tenants for the site, all keen to get operating near the Town Basin.
Ingham said one possible use could be for apartments on the site, but with the zoning it has, so many possibilities were available.
He said it was a long time since such a large, freehold site, with the zoning, had been available in the city centre.