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Buyers study new options for landmark Tokoroa site

The famed former hotel that has for 20 years housed a leading Māori education provider is up for sale, heralding a new chapter for a Tokoroa landmark.

Supremely positioned across the road from the town’s commercial centre with 140 metres of frontage to State Highway 1, the site is currently owned and occupied by tertiary educator Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

It was formerly the Timberlands Hotel, an iconic watering hole frequented by generations of workers and named in honour of the South Waikato town’s rich forestry heritage.

The complex was repurposed for educational use, serving for two decades as a respected centre teaching Māori language and skills-based bridging and tertiary courses. Now surplus to requirements, it has been put on the market ripe for a revamp.

The more than 1.7 hectares of freehold land underpinning the facility represents the largest commercial landholding in Tokoroa’s central business district.

A buyer will have the chance to again reinvent the sprawling, well-maintained and presented property. Those marketing the sale point to multiple options to add value by renovating or repurposing the buildings, or redeveloping to capitalise on large areas of unused land.

A re-birth as a hospitality, accommodation or conference/events venue, or potentially offices, are among the possibilities mooted – with relative affordability compared with similar large sites in bigger centres likely to add to buyer appeal.

New owners will have the comfort of progressing their options while earning income from a leaseback of part of the property to the current owners. This and a smaller short-term lease to another Māori service provider will generate an estimated net rental return of $92,110 plus outgoings and GST per annum.

The freehold land and buildings at 71 and 75 Ashworth Street, Tokoroa, are being marketed for sale through Ryan and Brendon Bradley of Bayleys Tauranga. The site will be sold by deadline private treaty closing on Wednesday 10 July, unless sold prior.

The buildings totalling approximately 3,595 square metres are positioned on some 1.76 hectares of land, zoned Commercial by South Waikato District Council.

Ryan Bradley said the buildings had been seismically strengthened to ratings of 67 to 100 percent of new building standard.

“The main building, spanning some 3,110 square metres, is beautifully presented, sprawling across the site with separate wings including a quality reception area, offices, classrooms, plus six vacant rooms previously used for accommodation.

“A large commercial kitchen plus a generous conference space provide a multitude of options for savvy add-value investors or owner-occupiers. Two separate buildings currently

used as an office and gym are also included in the sale and the massive parking area at the rear provides quality, flat yard space for potential development.

“The scene is set for a buyer with a new vision to repurpose this immaculate property with the upside of a secure leaseback from a reputable tenant,” said Ryan Bradley.

The leaseback would see Te Wānanga o Aotearoa continue to occupy some 595 square metres of the main building, plus 20 car parks. The lease will run for four years from settlement with rights of renewal, if taken up, extending to 2036. This will generate an annual net rent of $82,175 plus outgoings and GST per annum, with built-in rental growth.

A further 195 square metres, comprising the rear office building and a room in the main building plus three car parks, is occupied by Wera Aotearoa Charitable Trust as a base for youth mentoring, administration and office use. This returns $9,935 plus GST per annum on a lease which runs through to March 2025.

Brendon Bradley said the location, in a commercial precinct bordering the highway, directly opposite Tokoroa’s CBD, had much to offer new owners.

“The surrounding area is flush with big-name national companies such as Gull, Bridgestone, Hirepool and Carter’s Tyre Service, along with international traders Bunnings Warehouse, Repco, KFC and Burger King.

“This speaks volumes of the town’s significance. With a population of around 15,000, this is a substantial provincial centre with a skilled workforce and excellent transport links.

“Situated midway between Taupo and Hamilton in the centre of the North Island, Tokoroa lies at a strategic crossroads intersecting South Waikato’s lush dairy farmland and the vast plantation forests of the central North Island. The area is also important for engineering,” Brendon Bradley said.

Major businesses include Oji Fibre Solutions’ flagship operations at Kinleith to the south and Fonterra’s large Cheese factory complex at Lichfield to the north.

Olam Food Ingredients has built a dairy plant on 11.8 hectares at the town’s southern entrance which opened for the start of the 2023/2024 milking season.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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