Photo: Imperial Park artist's impression
Units in Petone’s newest business park have attracted near record buyer demand as small investors target commercial property as an antidote to the low-interest-rate Covid-19 environment.
All of 20 commercial units placed on the market in the initial offering at the Imperial Park development in Bouverie Street, Petone, were sold or under contract within a week of its launch on 7 September, according to Bayleys Commercial Wellington.
Demand is already spilling over to feed strong prior interest in a further 30 units being placed on the market within the next week according to salesperson Fraser Press.
“Commercial property offerings in Petone are generally very strongly sought after, but demand for Imperial Park is beyond even the high expectations we normally associate with this area,” he said.
Mr Press said some 90 percent of sales had been to owner-occupiers – with an eclectic mix including artists, food and beverage operators and light manufacturing, as well as buyers securing space to store personal ‘toys’ such as boats and campervans.
“Recent economic reports suggest the impact of Covid-19 so far has not been as severe as initially feared. The response at Imperial Park to date is a vote of confidence in commercial property and in the local economy’s underlying strength in the current environment,” said Mr Press.
“What we’re seeing is invigorated demand from smaller investors for opportunities to buy quality commercial property. This interest is heightened amid an outlook punctuated by record-low interest rates for the foreseeable future.”
Mr Press said the reintroduction of tax depreciation entitlements on commercial and industrial buildings as part of the Government’s Covid-19 stimulus response offered a further advantage not available to owners of other assets including residential buildings.
The units at Imperial Park are being marketed for sale by negotiation by Mr Press, along with Bhakti Mistry and Ethan Hourigan of Bayleys Commercial Wellington.
Ms Mistry said the development offered an affordable entry point to freehold investment in commercial property in a form not seen before in the Hutt Valley.
“Individual units are not unit-titled, as would typically be the case with business park developments. Each purchaser gains freehold ownership of their own unit, parking area and land,” she said.
“As a result, there is no formal body corporate and this gives owners flexibility over insurance arrangements in order to pay their outgoings. An independent commercial manager looks after common areas of the business park to make sure the landscaped park environment is tidy and presentable.”
Ms Mistry said a flexible site plan with units of various sizes, configurations and frontages meant there was something to appeal to a wide range of owner-occupiers and investors.
The units range in size from approximately 51 square metres to 124.5 square metres. Those offered at stage two would mainly be of 51 or 64 square metres with frontages onto Bouverie Street.
Units come with roller-door access and stud heights of between 5.5 and 7.2 metres, along with one to three car parks and CCTV security.
“As with stage one, the flexibility of units opens the way for a myriad of uses – from showrooms to retail outlets, offices or warehouses,” said Ms Mistry.
Mr Hourigan said a key factor driving demand at Imperial Park was its strategic location, handy to State Highways 1 and 2 with easy access to much of the greater Wellington region.
“Businesses located here are easily reached within less than five minutes by road from Lower Hutt and under 15 minutes from downtown Wellington,” Mr Hourigan said.
Major commercial occupiers in the vicinity include Mitre 10 Mega, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Plumbing World, food wholesalers Gilmours and the Wellington Institute of Technology.
“In addition, Imperial Park is just three minutes’ drive from the busy hub of Jackson Street, with its cafes and restaurants and large bulk retailers such as Kathmandu, Briscoes, Rebel Sports, Bunnings and Smiths City,” Mr Hourigan said.
Imperial Park was designed by Bonnifait+Giesen Architects and developed by Rosco Industrial, whose previous projects include the Silverstream Industrial Park, Grenada Business Park and Gracefield Business Park.
The new business park’s name reflects Petone’s rich manufacturing heritage. The units occupy a site which for nearly a century was home to a large cigarette manufacturing compound, owned since the late 1990s by Imperial Tobacco.