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New owners poised to scoop up landmark fish and chip premises

Captain Morgan’s fish and chip café at Gisborne’s Waikanae Beach has been pulling in punters for some three decades – serving up a full range of seafood and deep-fried menu options to both dine-in or takeaway customers taking advantage of the panoramic sandy beach just 40 metres away.

Now the 459 square metre freehold site and 409 square metre building, but not the business, are being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Gisborne, with tenders closing at 4pm on February 15.

Bayleys Gisborne salespeople Shelley Donaldson and Mike Florance said the building at 285 Grey Street in the Gisborne suburb of Awapuni was constructed in the 1950s. They said it comprised the foodservice business at street level, with the business operators living in the upper residential portion of the property.

Captain Morgan’s fish and chip shop is currently on a lease running through until 2023 generating rental income of $53,500 per annum. The retail portion of the two-storey building consists of 137 square metres of retail and dining space, and 123 square metres of kitchen and foodservice space.

Upstairs is a 149 square metre spacious four-bedroom apartment with a deck offering spectacular and unimpeded views over Waikanae Beach. Directly over the road from the site is the Waikanae Beach Top 10 Holiday Park and the Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club.

Mr Florance said the timing of the current Captain Morgan’s lease expiring was an important indicator for what could become of the site in the future – which could go one of either two ways. The location is zoned inner city residential under Gisborne Council’s district plan.

“The length of the lease is far enough out that from a pure investment perspective that either a new occupancy could be negotiated with the existing tenant, or new business operators could be sourced over the intervening period,” Mr Florance said.

“Suffice to say the property is currently under-rented when the commercial and residential aspects of the location are factored in – so there is the obvious potential to lift the yield quite substantially.

“Alternatively, for developers looking at buying the site with the intention of redeveloping it into a mixed-use venue, the existing tenancy provides at least four years good holding income while the necessary council planning consents are sought.

“Under this configuration, subject to council consents, there is the option to build a replacement foodservice outlet – with upmarket apartments above. The upper level residential components would have stunning views down Waikanae Beach across to Young Nick’s Head.”

Ms Donaldson said the waterfront location of Captain Morgan’s not only benefitted from its coastal position, but also from car parking for up to 50 vehicles in the vicinity directly outside its front doors. Customer demographics for the business were split between holiday makers, local residents, and workers at nearby light industry premises.

“The address is one of a kind in Gisborne - there are no other fish and chip outlets like Captain Morgan’s which have this sort of vista on their front doorstep with some 31 metres of street frontage – which is one of the reasons the eatery has been so continuously popular over the decades,” she said.

“From a local clientele perspective, Captain Morgan’s location means residents heading home from work to Gisborne’s south-east can conveniently pick up dinner en-route.

“And during the weekdays, the business also draws in a strong customer base from the scores of light industrial businesses which stretch south along and off the Awapunui Road main arterial route.”

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