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Sweetheart character property in Victoria Quarter turns buyer heads

A standalone character building in a coveted area behind Victoria Park Market in Auckland’s centrally-located and evolving Victoria Quarter is for sale, with a boutique hair studio tenant now occupying the former warehouse.

The property at 18 Drake Street in Freemans Bay was acquired by furniture manufacturing business C.F. Neary Limited, which crafted solid timber household furniture from 1920 in factory premises next-door, for its upholstery operations.

In the monthly publication The Ladies’ Mirror in the 1920s, when Auckland phone numbers had just four digits, a modest advertisement stated that the firm made “distinctive furniture for homes of distinction with artistic and exclusive designs”.

The business is still in operation today from premises in Penrose where the third generation of the Neary family now manufactures fine furniture and undertakes some restoration work.

The functional 160sqm building with good street presence to Drake Street occupies a fee simple 202sqm site and was completely refurbished and converted in 2022 to provide a creative and contemporary workspace that celebrates its gritty roots.

Exposed brick walls, impressive ceiling trusses and polished concrete floors provide an industrial chic backdrop and attractive open plan working environment for the current tenant, Goodhood Hair, with the striking yet minimalistic fitout largely completed by them.

Goodhood has a 5-year lease from 11 October 2022 with two, 5-year rights of renewal, fixed annual rental increases of 2.5% and the rent reviewed to market on renewal dates.

The net lease returns $59,757 plus GST per annum and agents marketing the property describe it as a hands-off investment opportunity in an affordable price bracket.

The property is for sale by tender through Alan Haydock, Damien Bullick, and Jack Kiely of Bayleys Auckland Central, closing 4pm Thursday 7th December (unless sold prior)

Haydock says the area around Drake Street became an important centre for industrial activity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with brickmakers, timber workers and boat builders gravitating there.

“The late 1800s former Freeman’s Hotel on the corner of Drake and Vernon Streets, the Browns Mill building now occupied by coffee roaster Allpress, and the imposing brick Victoria Park Market precinct characterise the area, sharing space with former warehouses like the subject property and more modern commercial buildings including the Swiss-Belsuites serviced apartment hotel.

“Drake Street and its lane offshoots give the area charm and personality and buyers hotly-contest character property in this location.

Bullick says the beauty of the Victoria Quarter is its clear nod to the past, juxtaposed with a foot firmly in the present due to entrepreneurial occupiers and proactive developers.

“Along with some stalwart businesses, we’re seeing a second wave of hospitality operators offering innovative eateries, with news that another new venue is soon to open spearheaded by a proven and successful restaurant/bar owner.

“Many properties in the Victoria Park precinct are being converted to high-end character office workspaces which have resonated with a wide range of business owners.

“The broader area has seen significant high-end investment in the last five or so years with the likes of Mansons TCLM’s AA Insurance Centre, Location Group’s Grace Victoria Quarter apartments, and Russell Property Group’s Vocus House office buildings – all in neighbouring Sale Street and examples of forward-thinking projects.”

Character investments of the subject property’s calibre and accessible price bracket are scarce, particularly standalone buildings, with the Drake Street offering lending itself to a range of commercial uses, a live/work opportunity or a future residential dwelling.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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