Grey Lynn site ripe for development

By Colin Taylor, article courtesy of NZ Herald

A property within the sought-after and affluent Auckland city fringe suburb of Grey Lynn, has come onto the market with the prospect for residential development under new zoning designated by the Auckland Unitary Plan.

"The entire property is occupied by Burrell Demolition Limited," says John Stringer of Barfoot & Thompson Commercial, who with colleague Murray Tomlinson, is marketing 18 Westmoreland St West for sale by tender closing at 4pm on Wednesday March 22.

The freehold property comprises an older building with a letting area of about 1850sq m on a land area of 2782sq m.

"It is primarily used as a building demolition parts yard where a wide range of recycled building materials are stored and offered for sale like aluminium joinery, window frames, bricks, roofing, lighting, bathroom and fireplace products," says Stringer.

"This property has been acknowledged for a long time as an excellent target site for a comprehensive residential development, but this has only become a possibility with the recent rezoning under Auckland Unitary Plan from Business 4 to Business Mixed Use.


Further features that complement the site as a development prospect include its wide frontage with a northerly aspect, a southerly aspect over a local community park, a right of way to one side and a city council that remains pro development."

Stringer says the building appears to have been constructed in 1954 for the Wilton Motor Body Company.


"What's on the site today doesn't appear to be a lot different from the original building except for an extension in 1956 that extended the ground floor and a 1958 addition of themezzanine floors.

"The original structure comprised all steel columns and a steel open-web purlin roof structure. The warehouse at the knee looks to be about 3.5 metres so it is a low stud structure."

Stringer says the site was presumably occupied by the motor vehicle company from 1954 until the 1980s when Quality Packers, owned by Unifoods, is recorded as vacating the property.

"Several users are recorded from then until Early Settler furniture manufacturers occupied about 1994 as the main user - along with Tokyo Foods - until around 2007 when the present user took possession.

"A report undertaken in 2004 by Tonkin & Taylor for the owner, proposed a multi-level commercial development," he says.

John Stringer, Barfoot & Thompson Commercial
John Stringer, Barfoot & Thompson Commercial

An ideal rectangular site

Tomlinson says the land is essentially level in contour and comprises four lots about 60m wide by 46m deep giving "an ideal rectangular site".

He says there is no formal lease structure set in place due to ownership of the freehold property being "in common" with the ownership of the business.

"However, this gives flexibility for a purchaser to extend both a settlement term and to agree on a rent figure with the vendor if a 'lease-back' period is agreed.

"Burrells has suggested it may be appropriate for a practical relocation period of at least two months be provided for in an enforceable sales and purchase agreement in order to give them time to move their current business.

"Whether this would be suitable, or a longer period could be agreed to via an extended settlement or lease-back arrangement, would be a matter of negotiation, as would the rental figure under a leaseback."


Tomlinson says that under the part operative Auckland Unitary Plan, the new Business Mixed Use zoning permits residential activity as well as predominantly smaller scale commercial activity.

The allowable zone height limit is 18m (16m occupiable and 2m for the roof).

"This would allow for building up to five levels on the site," Tomlinson says.


The property is located on the north-western border of Grey Lynn, adjacent to the established suburbs of Westmere, Herne Bay and Ponsonby to the north and has access to good bus services via nearby Richmond Rd.

"The site is around 10 minutes from the CBD in normal traffic; West Lynn shops are about 600 metres away and central Ponsonby is 1500 metres away."

Murray Tomlinson
Murray Tomlinson, Barfoot & Thompson Commercial

About Barfoot & Thompson Commercial

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