Emily Place CBD building ripe for development

By Colin Taylor, article courtesy of NZ Herald

A 1920s building on a freehold site is for sale with vacant possession in central Auckland close to Vector Arena and in an area of hotel development.  

"This is an ideal property for development to commercial and residential or hotel uses," says Cam Paterson, broker with Barfoot & Thompson Commercial who is marketing 21 Emily Place for sale by tender closing at 3 pm on Thursday, February 25. 

The two level building with a total lettable area of about 475 sq m occupies an elevated regular shaped 350 sq m site with a 257 sq m foot-print. It has an 11 metre street frontage to Emily Place, is 28 metres in depth and with a 15 metre western rear border. 

"The street has a downward gradient heading north but this site is level in contour," Paterson says. 

He says the building comprises ‘tired’ office space and fit out on both the ground and upper levels. The ground level also has parking for six cars which enter the front of the building via a roller door.

"The upper level office area is accessed directly from Emily Place and would be suitable for retail purposes. It also has a pleasant outlook over Emily Reserve," Paterson says. "Both levels have bathroom amenities and could be occupied separately." 

Although dating back to the 1920s, the property is not listed a heritage listed building. General construction is of concrete and brick with an iron roof. 


Paterson says the land is zoned Queen Street Valley Precinct. “This zoning is formed around the Queen Street corridor which is the focus for the most intensive retail activities in the Auckland central area. It has the highest level of pedestrian activity in the city where buildings have both significant individual and group heritage quality.

"The precinct contains a diversity of activities with a particularly high proportion of pedestrian-orientated activities at ground level and is enhanced by views of public open space."

Paterson says the zoning allows for a floor area ratio (FAR) of six times in height to the land area or up to 13 to one if bonuses are achieved.

Cam Paterson, Barfoot & Thompson Commercial
Cam Paterson, Barfoot &
Thompson Commercial

"However, the site is subject to height controls due to sunlight admission and shading controls which restrict the height potential to 22 metres."


The property is on the western side of Emily Place which is a quiet feeder road running between Customs Street West and Shortland Street in the city’s prime commercial office precinct.

"The council has Emily Place and Emily Reserve pegged for an upgrade in the Auckland Master Plan," says Paterson. "The plan overview describes Emily Place as ‘a real oasis in the city. Emily Place has great potential as a breakout space for Engine Room office workers and attractive connection between Britomart Station and the universities. A public space upgrade might include a cascade of terraces from Emily Place Reserve, creating lawn, paving and decking for outdoor cafes, picnic places and play areas’."

The trendy 6.5 hectare waterfront Britomart precinct is only about 100 metres north of the property.  

"With its many restored heritage buildings and new developments that are home to over 100 businesses, Britomart encompasses a diverse mix of restaurants, bars, boutique stores, offices and services and is adjacent to Auckland's main transport hub, the Britomart Transport Centre," Paterson says. 

"The south end of Emily Place intersects Shortland St less than 200 meters from Queen Street where the area is dominated by several large office towers housing many of Auckland's leading legal and professional service companies."

Paterson says the location has become popular for both residential and hotel developments. 

"Being close to the city’s commercial centre and with the Vector Arena only 650 metres away, this property is also ideal for hotel use. The Vector Arena is one of the CBD’s premium venue for international events and indoor sports and its popularity has resulted in an increased demand for short term accommodation in the city." 

Paterson says the building has a council earthquake assessment of 28 per cent of New Build Standard (NBS). "If the building was retained, its structure would need to be upgraded to above 34 per cent of NBS within 20 years. However, an independent report may result in a more favourable rating."

About Barfoot & Thompson Commercial

Barfoot & Thompson Commercial offer expertise in industrial and retail sales and leasing, property management and portfolio management.