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Supermarket premises goes in the shopping trolley for commercial property investors

Built in 2000, the property at 37 – 43 Commercial Road in Helensville just north-west of Auckland is home to the town’s long-established Countdown supermarket. The Countdown brand has 183 supermarkets nationwide.

The high-stud single storey Countdown supermarket has been selling cereals and baked beans on the Helensville location for almost 19 years, and consists of a 1,772 square metre building sitting on 5,623 square metres of freehold land zoned commercial 8C under Auckland Council’s plan.

Countdown Helensville’s holding company and leaseholder of the property, General Distributors Ltd, is a subsidiary of Progressive Enterprises. General Distributors Ltd has a new lease in place through until 2031, with six further six-year rights of renewal taking the potential term out to 2067. The lease generates annual rental of $500,000 plus G.S.T.

The Countdown Helensville land and building are now being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Auckland, with the tender process closing at 4pm on March 7. Bayleys Auckland salesperson Ed Donald the property was a rectangular-shaped parcel of land facing directly onto Helensville’s main road.

“The building itself comprises concrete foundations, steel framing, concrete tilt panel and fibre cement sheeting walls, long run steel roofing, and aluminium windows and doors. The retail space has suspended ceilings throughout, vinyl flooring, and is fully wired up with air conditioning units smoke detectors and alarms,” Mr Donald said.

“A produce delivery and truck docking bay are located on one side of the building – giving direct access to the store’s warehousing area, bordered by its freezer and chiller amenities. The business’s air-conditioned office and staff amenities – including bathrooms and cafeteria – are housed at the rear of the store sectioned off from the grocery floor area.

“As an investment opportunity, Countdown Helensville delivers on the standard criteria of having a reputable and well-established tenant in place, with a strong customer base, on a long lease term, with a well-maintained high-quality building.”

Mr Donald said Auckland Council’s zoning classification for Helensville’s town centre meant 37 – 43 Commercial Road was one of only a few ‘big box’ retail sites within the town centre. The site has customer car parking for 92 vehicles – with two entrances off Commercial Road.

“Auckland Council has been very clear with its intentions for Helensville to retain a town/village ambience reflective of servicing its rural hinterland location. As such, the council has been directing any new developments or remodeling of existing premises to be small retail tenancies and community services entities – such as doctor’s or dental clinics or lawyers’ chambers…. with Countdown being the exception.

“Consequently, as the pre-eminent supermarket in town, General Distributors Ltd has expressed an interest in expanding its presence on the Commercial Road site in future.”

Mr Donald said that with the nearest major supermarket competition, New World, located at Kumeu some 24 kilometres away, the Countdown Helensville business had a substantial captive client base which stretched east to Kaukapakapa and Waitoki, as well as north along the entire South Head Peninsula.

The last available census data shows Helensville township sustained a population of 2,532 residents, with that number swelling to 9000 when the surrounding areas of Parakai, Rewiti, Woodhill and South Head were included.

The Stats NZ report on Helensville noted: “Because it is within easy commuting distance of Auckland City, Auckland's North Shore, West Auckland and the new Albany development, and because of comparatively low property prices, Helensville has become an attractive place for residents wanting to get away from city living.”

“People view it as having the best of both worlds - a quieter, small town pace of life in a rural atmosphere, but combined with close proximity to all the facilities offered by the country's largest city,” added the population report.”

Meanwhile, data from the Government’s electoral office records shows that in 2017, some 21.9 percent of households in the Helensville electoral district had family income between $100,000 and $150,000 - the third-largest share in the country.

Mr Donald said that as a trading brand which relied heavily on its public persona, the Countdown Helensville property had been meticulously maintained over its lifespan.

“This is to reinforce the appeal of Countdown’s offering among its shopping public – where a clean appearance is paramount to underpinning the smoothness off the whole grocery purchasing experience. As a result, the maintenance of the property has consistently been to a high standard over the years,” Mr Donald added.

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