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Sale of flood-hit Wairau Valley site opens way for pumping facilities upgrade

A North Shore property damaged by Auckland’s devastating Anniversary Weekend floods will feature in plans to ‘build back better’ with more resilient water infrastructure, thanks to a transaction brokered by Bayleys Real Estate.

The more than 2,200-square-metre multi-tenanted property at 92 and 94 Wairau Road, in Wairau Valley, is best known to locals as the home of a car dealership and motorcycle repair and service centre.

It was recently purchased for more than $6.9 million by Auckland Council’s water and wastewater arm, WaterCare Services, as part of future plans to expand and improve local pump station facilities.

WaterCare had to carry out urgent repairs to the Wairau Pump Station after rising waters overwhelmed and destroyed two pumps in the January weather event.

The deluge claimed four lives and drove hundreds from their homes as it smashed previous records, dumping two months of rain in 24 hours on some parts of the city.

Parts of Wairau Valley were hit hard, with images of its inundated PAK’nSAVE supermarket going viral, while overwhelmed wastewater facilities saw significant volumes of raw sewage flow to the sea.

The flood-affected property at 92 and 94 Wairau Road was subsequently placed on the market for the first time in 21 years, through Ranjan Unka, Terry Kim and Trevor Duffin of Bayleys North Shore Commercial.

After a campaign generating strong inquiry and multiple offers, the team recently clinched the sale to WaterCare at a price exceeding pre-flood sales of comparable sites in the area.

Unka said the team worked hard to accentuate the site’s many positives.

“The property sold encompasses a substantial 2,288 square metres of land across two freehold titles with dual access, plenty of parking and around 40 metres of road frontage to main arterial Wairau Road. This represents an excellent canvas for any number of future uses.

“Buildings totalling approximately 912 square metres house four short and long-term tenants, with a car yard and retail/showroom tenancy fronting Wairau Road, plus a workshop occupied by a mechanic and offices leased to a tax accountancy business at the rear,” said Unka.

The tenancies generate a diversified combined total income of $232,326 per annum.

Kim said WaterCare would see out the leases – some of which were renegotiated onto more workable terms by the Bayleys team – while it considered its future plans for the property, which borders two other WaterCare-owned sites including existing pumping infrastructure.

To maximise the breadth of interest, the Bayleys sales team promoted the versatility of the property, which lent itself to a wide range of potential business activities and buyer types.

“Flexible light-industrial zoning and designation as part of a key growth corridor underpinned attractive possibilities for redevelopment with large-format retail and multi-level buildings of up to 20 metres.

“The existing lease profile was considered likely to appeal to add-value investors and business occupiers requiring easy access to major transport routes and proximity to other commercial and industrial activities,” said Kim.

Ultimately, it was proximity to pumping infrastructure that clinched the deal, with WaterCare acquiring the site for $6,975,000.

The sale price equates to nearly $3,050 per square metre. This compares favourably with the pre-flood sale of a comparable property directly across the road, which was bought by a major car dealer in October 2022 for around $2,800 per square metre.

Duffin said the Bayleys sales campaign also highlighted the property’s location in a thriving commercial precinct alongside big names like Mitre 10 Mega, Bunnings, PAK’nSAVE and big-brand car dealerships

“Wairau Valley is a vibrant commercial and industrial hub bringing together shops, warehouses, trade centres, showrooms and offices within easy reach of a large residential catchment.

“We were able to generate huge interest and inquiry in a location that, though it was hit hard by unprecedented flooding, is still extremely desirable and in demand with very low vacancy.

“The resulting competition and multiple offers from a variety of buyers enabled us to fetch a sale price for the vendor that exceeded expectations,” Duffin said.

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