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Strategically-located Grafton site to return to private ownership

A high-profile city-fringe 791sqm freehold parcel of land in Grafton, close to neighbouring Newmarket and with a great back story, is now for sale.

Formerly home to a car yard, the 791sqm corner site was acquired by Watercare Services Limited in 2017 to progress the city’s biggest-ever water project – a $400m water transmission pipeline from Manukau in South Auckland to the Khyber Pass reservoir.

Undertaken by Watercare, the council-owned and controlled organisation tasked to provide water and wastewater services to 1.7 million people in the Auckland region, the mega project dubbed Hunua 4 was a key infrastructural project for Council to boost capability and resilience of the water network and to provide for population growth.

The project is now complete after more than a decade in construction, with Bayleys appointed by Watercare to divest the site at 176-184 Khyber Pass Road with vacant possession.

The opportunity exists for a developer to formulate plans to optimise and unlock the best and highest use for the site, while receiving holding income from the reinstatement of a consented digital billboard and pursuing other temporary income streams.

The land is currently held in three titles, but will be merged into two. The larger 791sqm title is available for a new owner, with a meagre title retained by Watercare for operational maintenance purposes.

The flat site is zoned primarily Business-Mixed Use with a small component designated Strategic Transport Corridor zone.

The site also has a ‘Walkable Catchment' overlay under Auckland Council’s Plan Change 78 which provides for greater building height and housing density within and around neighbourhood, local and town centres in line with the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD).

There is around 30m of west-facing frontage to side road Edward Wayte Place, and circa-16m frontage along arterial Khyber Pass Road with north-facing views over the southern motorway towards the city and Rangitoto Island.

The property is located just a few metres from the motorway interchanges for State Highway 1 and the Western Motorway, and is handy to Grafton Station, a key stop on the city’s western line.

Tenders close on 5th December, unless sold prior, via Phil Haydock and James Were, Bayleys Auckland Central.

Haydock says it is now time for the prime city fringe corner site to go back into private ownership, and there are numerous options to be explored.

“The property currently returns an annual holding income of $67,500 plus GST through until November 2024 via a digital billboard lease agreement. The billboard was removed to facilitate Watercare’s works on the site and due to the short term remaining on the lease, it was decided not to reinstate.

“However, a new owner could renegotiate the signboard lease, as it is arguably hugely under-rented currently, while unlocking other income through perhaps carparking amenity until higher-use development fundamentals come back into line.

“The site could feasibly be redeveloped for residential, hotel, build-to-rent, medical or a commercial-mixed use development.”

Given the Grammar zone location with easy access to CBD and capacity to draw on the broad catchment of Auckland Hospital, University of Auckland and the Newmarket retail and service precinct, Were says astute investors will recognise the long-hold benefits of the site.

“Newmarket has seen significant investment in recent years and this site is strategically-positioned to leverage that growth.

“This is an incredibly well-connected and highly convenient city fringe location and our instructions are clear. The site has served its useful purpose for the Watercare infrastructural project and now it is to be sold.”

Click here for more information on the listing.

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