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Pumping fuel service station premises for sale has property investors ready to fill up

The land, building infrastructure sustaining one of busiest self-service fuel stops in New Zealand under the biggest fuel retailing brand within New Zealand have been placed on the market for sale.

The un-manned purpose-built Gull petrol station in the busy rural township of Ngatea in the Hauraki Plains is part of New Zealand’s largest independent fuel retailer - operating a network of 115 service stations, the majority of which are unmanned sites.

Gull runs a multi-model network across New Zealand, in which there are three different operational models – unmanned, manned and marinas. Gull Ngatea operates within the unmanned low overhead pay-at-pump framework – ensuring operating costs are kept at a minimum, and the lower pricing levels are consequently passed on to consumers.

The Gull Ngatea property is situated on a 1,624 square metre freehold site at 44 Orchard West Road, also known as State Highway 2. Orchard West Road is Ngatea’s main street, and is part of the high traffic volume arterial route linking Auckland and Tauranga.

Gull New Zealand Ltd was instrumental in changing the dynamics for retail fuel delivery in New Zealand since hitting the market in 1998.

First, the Gull brand offered consumers a lower price-point alternative to the bigger and more established brands such as Mobile, BP, and Z, before going on to be at the forefront of self-service fuel delivery locations compared to the more traditional fuel stop model encompassing the sale of food and beverages, as well as automotive products.

Gull had the Ngatea site purpose built in 2011 and is one of the country’s busiest self-service fuel stations. Now the Ngatea property, but not the fuel retailing business, is being marketed for sale by auction on May 2 through Bayleys Hamilton.

Salesperson Josh Smith said the rectangular-shaped property was being sold with an extensive list of landlord chattels used to sustain the site’s fuel retailing activities, including: • One 60,000 litre fuel storage tank and one 50,000 litre fuel storage tank • Four filling stations and • Vapour recovery lines

Gull New Zealand Ltd is on a current 10-year lease at the Ngatea site through to 2031, with three further five-year rights of renewal – taking the potential final lease out to 2046 in its current format. The lease currently generates an annual rental of $68,677 plus GST and operating expenses. Gull’s fuel retailing hardware occupies some

96-square metres of the site, which is zoned commercial 8A.

“The future of the petrol and diesel-powered internal combustion engine looks to be assured for many decades to come – particularly with many of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturing marques announcing just recently that they are actually cutting back on the future development and production of electric vehicles.

“Essentially, while ‘plug-in’ vehicles are an option for those who can afford the up-front costs, they won’t be replacing petrol and diesel vehicles for the foreseeable future – which is why opportunities like the Gull station in Ngatea will continue to be required for servicing the needs of petrol and diesel engine driving motorists.

“It must also be remembered that Ngatea is a rural services town - with a high proportion of the surrounding population driving farm vehicles such as utes, quad bikes, and jeeps, the vast majority of which aren’t electric powered – and you will see that there will always be demand for the fossil fuels delivered from a Gul station.

“Gull’s customer self-service model is perfectly designed for successfully servicing Ngatea’s demographic and clientele which encompasses a substantial rural catchment area as well as also sitting on the main route State Highway 2 linking Auckland with the Northern Bay of Plenty. The Gull business is one of only two fuel service stations in the town.

Smith said that the infrastructure of the property – predominantly comprising a concrete forecourt and Gullwing canopy over the pumping stations and underground tank storage infrastructure – meant the Ngatea location was very much a ‘hands-off’ real estate investment opportunity.

Gull manages all operational expenses on the site - such as the fuel dispensers, signage, phone lines for card payments, and point of sales systems.

“The venue’s canopy is built of conventional steel framing on two columns and is clearly visible from the main road because of its height prominence,” he said.

Mr Smith said there was considerable potential to add value to the otherwise passive investment property by finding an economic use for a considerable portion of underutilised land to the rear and side of the fuel retailing activities, subject to any lease negotiations with Gull as head tenant.

“At the rear of the property – currently partly fenced off from the fuel station forecourt and accessed via a school service lane – is a large area of unused land which could be developed, subject to council consents, to increase potential income,” Smith said.

“A common suggestion which has been made by several interested parties for future use of this portion of the property is the installation of a self-storage garages.

The Gull brand across Australasia is owned by Australian-based conglomerate Allegro Funds, which bought the assets, systems and network from Ampol which operated the Caltex brand.

Selling in excess of 500 megalitres of fuel annually, Gull now has approximately eight percent of New Zealand’s liquid fuel volumes. It is also the only independent operator with a vertically integrated fuel supply capability - owning a strategic import terminal located at Mount Maunganui.

Allegro Funds was founded in 2004, and is now one of Australia’s foremost private equity firms specialising in active and complex transformation opportunities. With A$4 billion of assets under management across Australia and New Zealand since 2008, Allegro has been associated with the purchase of such New Zealand investments as transport and logistics firm Toll Global Express, as well as retailers Best & Less Group, and Hannahs / Number One Shoes.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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