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Barry Crump’s former CBD bolt hole for sale a developing story for good keen investors

A former warehouse in Auckland’s CBD once owned by Kiwi author Barry Crump has been placed on the market for sale with attractive development options.

The mixed-use property at 40 Airedale Street, a side street that joins Queen Street near Auckland Town Hall, was owned by Crump in the early 1990s as a city bolt hole and book warehouse.

The popular writer and quintessential outdoorsman sold over a million copies of novels including A Good Keen Man, There and back, A Good Keen Girl and Bastards I Have Met. Twenty years after Crump's death, his 1986 work Wild Pork and Watercress was adapted into the 2016 Taika Waititi film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

Crump’s purchase of the Airedale Street property marked a renewed link to the super city for the Auckland-born author, who worked for years as a deer-culler in backcountry New Zealand and travelled extensively abroad.

The standalone two-storey building is a remnant of the light-industrial buildings that once characterised this precinct. It has been adapted for commercial and residential uses, and its location and zoning have seen it mooted for major redevelopment.

The freehold land and building at 40 Airedale Street are being marketed for sale by tender closing on September 15 through Bayleys Auckland Central.

Salespeople Alan Haydock and Damien Bullick said the property comprised a building of approximately 366 square metres, plus deck and courtyard areas, on 230 square metres of freehold land. The property incorporates three secure off-street car parks.

Mr Haydock said the property was currently owner-occupied and was available with vacant possession, with the potential to negotiate a short-term leaseback to the vendor.

“The original industrial building was constructed in the 1950s and converted some 15 years ago into a mixed-use property,” said Mr Haydock.

“The ground floor consists of an office and workshop plus a garage/workspace which allows three stacked car parks. The first floor houses two apartments – each with two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and an open-plan living area.”

Mr Haydock said the Airedale Street property lent itself well to a live-work arrangement, as per its current use. Alternatively, it could be divided into two or three separate tenancies for a diversified income stream.

“In addition, there is significant value-add potential generated by the site’s flexible zoning, which encourages intensification for commercial and residential uses.

“The Business – City Centre zoning under Auckland Council’s unitary plan allows for a building height of up to 50 metres, subject to council consent, with activities including residential accommodation, offices and retail,” said Mr Haydock.

“This, combined with a strategic location in an area ripe for a major ramp-up in activity, affords this site exceptional development potential and multiple options for future owners.”

Mr Bullick said Airedale Street appealed to entrepreneurial and creative businesses due to its central location, closeness to AUT and Auckland University and excellent accessibility.

“This property benefits from being tucked in off the main road, yet is just 200 metres from Queen Street in the middle of the city’s education and entertainment precincts. It’s within a short walk of the Queen Street shops, as well the universities, Auckland Public Library, the Town Hall, cinemas, theatres and Auckland Art Gallery – plus the green havens of Albert Park and Myers Park.”

Mr Bullick said completion of the Auckland City Rail Link, due in 2024, would further boost the location’s accessibility and popularity, and lift real estate activity.

“This area is well served by the inner-city bus network and is only about a five-minute drive from the motorways. When the City Rail Link’s new Aotea Station opens, it will be less than 10 minutes’ walk from Airedale Street.

“This neighbourhood is already undergoing a transformation with new residential high-rise towers gradually replacing the old light-industrial warehouses,” said Mr Bullick.

“This transformation will only intensify. According to Statistics New Zealand, Auckland’s city centre population is growing six times faster than the rest of the region and it is expected to top 75,000 by 2027.”

Officials say the City Rail Link will double the population living within a half-hour commute of the central business district.

“The new underground Aotea Station will be New Zealand’s busiest railway station. This is set to drive significant office and mixed-use development and public amenity improvements and will heighten demand for strategically-located CBD real estate,” said Mr Bullick.

“The property at 40 Airedale Street offers an affordable price point for a freehold building in the central city. It comes with opportunities for an occupier or investor to refurbish and modernise to their requirements, or to develop to a larger scale in keeping with this area’s rapid rise as a vibrant urban hub.”

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