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City-fringe backpacker lodge placed on the market for sale

Freemans Backpackers Lodge in Freemans Bay has been operating from a converted villa for 15 years – sustaining an 80 percent occupancy rate during the 2017/2018 financial year.

The commercial accommodation premises sitting on 546 square metres of freehold land is configured in a range of sleeping options – from bunk style dormitories through to share twin/double and family rooms. Guest amenities at the property include a semi-commercial grade kitchen, three toilet/bathroom suites, a communal lounge/TV room, and a large private back lawn.

The Freemans Backpackers Lodge land, buildings, and going concern accommodation business at 65 Wellington Street are being jointly marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Real Estate and Blu Realty, with tenders closing at 4pm on March 14.

Bayleys Auckland salesperson Stuart Bode said the lodge’s room inventory consisted of five double bedrooms, a pair of six-bed dormitories, a four-bed dormitory, a pair of twin bedrooms, three single bedrooms, and a family suite. He said most of the accommodation rooms were housed in the former residence portion of the lodge, with two bedrooms and a dormitory situated in a building at the rear of the main dwelling.

“Freemans Backpackers Lodge is a stereo-typical backpackers accommodation – catering to the budget end of the free independent traveler market, and last financial year generating net income of $180,000. The business is run by a full-time manager who lives on site,” he said.

Chattels within the Freemans Backpackers Lodge sale include all kitchen whiteware, bedding and lounge furniture, the lodge’s trading name and marketing collateral, and forward bookings.

Blu Realty salesperson Leah La Hood said the lodge’s location within a surrounding residential environment attracted a clientele wanting a more suburban atmosphere for the duration of their stay, rather than the vibrancy and associated noise of the bigger CBD backpacker lodges in downtown Auckland and around the top of Queen Street.

“Backpackers as a visitor segment have a strong propensity to enjoy the hospitality amenities of the city in which they are staying, and from that perspective, Freemans Backpackers Lodge is strategically located just a short walk from the CityWorks Depot, Karangahape Road, and Ponsonby Road – all with their proliferation of food and beverage outlets,” she said.

“The growth in Auckland’s tourism sector is reflected in the history of 65 Wellington Street – which was first converted into a boarding house in 1975 before morphing into a commercial accommodation provider in the early 2000s.”

Latest commercial accommodation data from Stats NZ for the Auckland show that visitor guest nights in the city were up 0.7 percent in the 12 months to November last year – with hotels and backpackers recording the biggest occupancy increases within that figure.

The Government data also noted there were 892,835 backpacker stay nights recorded in Auckland over the 12 months to November 2018l - for an average industry occupancy rate of 54.9 percent.

“Freemans Backpackers Lodge with its occupancy rate of 80 percent clearly outperforms its competitors from that perspective,” Ms Le Hood said.

Mr Bode said 65 Wellington Street was zoned residential terrace house and apartment building under the Auckland Unitary Plan - allowing for the construction of multi-storey dwellings or apartments as future development options for the site.

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