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Bayleys concludes one of the biggest on-market sales in Christchurch

Billed as one of the largest single development opportunities seen in the South Island in recent years, a 5.15ha landholding consented for a residential and commercial project in Christchurch’s Hornby industrial precinct has defied a generally subdued market, selling for a standout sum to a local investor.

The freehold land and buildings at 22 and 24 Amyes Road and 16 Branston Street, Hornby sold for $20 million, believed to be one of the biggest on-market sales in Christchurch in the last 18 months. Subsequently, the vendors – Williams Corporation – opted to retain a portion of the land to undertake a 31-townhouse residential development, releasing to the market this month.

Despite having approved Resource Consent for a substantial townhouse and commercial development right across the site, the buyer intends repurposing and adding value to the existing buildings once the current occupier vacates the property – rather than activating the greenlit plan.

The mega-deal was brokered by Ryan Kerr, William Wallace and Sam Stone, Bayleys Christchurch.

The strategically-located landholding was acquired by developers Williams Corporation in 2021, with the intention of redeveloping the site which was originally home to the Gough Group’s heavy machinery business for more than 50 years.

Williams Corporation attained Resource Consent to develop 274 residential townhouses and 80 lock up-style commercial units across the site, to optimise the potential of the land and release new housing and commercial opportunities for the city.

With multiple other smaller projects currently on the go around Christchurch, Williams Corporation decided to divest the bulk of the Hornby land, keeping some back for a residential project, and deploy the balance of the capital more effectively in its business, says Kerr.

“The land was ripe with opportunity whether the Resource Consent was activated – or not.

“The existing 12,800sqm industrial buildings are fully-leased providing holding income and giving a new owner time and space to formulate a workable future plan for the site.

“Our extensive marketing campaign uncovered local and national development entities looking for upzoning opportunity, and add-value investors who recognised the inherent worth of the existing buildings and the balance of the land around them.”

Bayleys South Island commercial and industrial general manager William Wallace said the versatile property presented options for a partial redevelopment or a site-wide project given the active Resource Consent.

“The unbeatable location close to the Hornby Town Centre, the Hub Hornby retail precinct, and major arterial and highway routes, was always going to excite the market because land opportunities of this size are simply in hen’s teeth supply.

“Our campaign uncovered a real appetite for this land, proving that there’s still a good amount of capital circulating in Canterbury – for the right projects.

“Ultimately, the purchaser was a local investor who we understand wants to rework the existing assets to create an even more attractive commercial and industrial environment, rather than reinvent the wheel with a change of use.”

The Bayleys’ team is proactive within Canterbury and wider South Island development and investment markets, and Stone says the strength of the brand came to the fore during the campaign.

“Given the climate for development in the current high inflation and interest rate environment, we needed to identify and directly engage with clients on our extensive databases and use our local knowledge to leverage the opportunity the site offered in the market.

“A lot of work went on behind the scenes and across the Bayleys wider network to ensure that no stone was left unturned in the pursuit of a suitable buyer.”

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