The land and buildings of Newmarket’s original police station, lock-up and sergeant’s residence dating back to the early-20th century are now for sale for the first time as the New Zealand Police cuts remaining ties with the site at 58 Remuera Road.
In June 2021, police moved into a new purpose-built Newmarket police base half a kilometre away in Teed Street and the stalwart buildings at the corner of Remuera and Middleton Roads were shuttered after 112 years of service.
The former Newmarket Police Station site and buildings comprising the 1909 masonry “Sergeants House”, the 1909 red brick lock-up, the 1938 red brick police station building, and garage, has been assessed as having significant heritage values of architectural, historical, social and aesthetic importance.
Already included on Auckland Council’s Schedule of Historic Heritage in the Auckland Unitary Plan as a Category B historic heritage place, there is also a signed heritage covenant over the property agreed to between the Crown as owner and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
Heritage New Zealand agrees that the buildings and land associated with the precinct should be protected, conserved and maintained as an historic place, and they’ve been nominated for inclusion on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero.
Having the sergeant’s house, lock-up and the associated 1930s’ police station building all on the same site is unique in Auckland, and was important to the broader history of Auckland suburban policing as the site transitioned over time from a neighbourhood policing base to a district headquarters.
The freehold site comprises 1,123sqm of flat land with a combined building area of around 700sqm, and on-site carparking.
The property as a whole is being marketed for sale by tender with vacant possession through Mike Adams, Paula Bennett and Jean-Paul Smit of Bayleys Auckland Central, closing 4pm, Thursday 7th December.
“Unique” doesn’t begin to describe the offering, according to Adams who says the designated Business – Mixed Use zoning has broad possibilities for a new owner.
“While there is no expectation that this distinctive collection of buildings will be a museum piece, a buyer will need to work closely with Heritage New Zealand if any changes are to be made on-site.
“There is some underutilised yard space and the existing structures appear to be sound so repurposing the property to a new use has some exciting connotations for a heritage-loving developer or owner-occupier.
“Newmarket is one of Auckland’s oldest and most aspirational suburbs and has progressed in leaps and bounds in recent years due to significant private investment.”
Architecturally, the 1938 police station building designed by firm Gummer and Ford – the architects responsible for the Dilworth Building on lower Queen Street and the Auckland Railway Station building in Beach Road – has merit, despite additional levels being added in later years to cater to growth.
At the time it was built, this building was described as “excellent in layout and provides every modern convenience, including a surgeons room”, and in the 1970s, there were internal reconfigurations made to accommodate terminals associated with the roll out of the National Law Enforcement System colloquially known as the Wanganui Computer.
The masonry two-storied dwelling fronting Middleton Road, likely designed by a Public Works Department architect, also has heritage architectural value, and in 1979 it was converted from residential use for occupation by the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB).
The original 1909 lock-up is distinctive for its brick construction as more usually, these buildings were made of timber.
Bennett says developers and owner-occupiers will recognise the inherent opportunity for office use, possibly boutique retail, or to provide commercial or residential accommodation.
“Looking around New Zealand there are many examples of buildings with heritage significance segueing into new uses – including, former police station facilities,” she says.
“Central Wellington’s former police barracks in Buckle Street dating back to the late-1800s have had several incarnations since vacated by police in 1956 – housing The Dominion Museum and National Art Gallery, leased as commercial office space and now, after a sensitive renovation, enjoyed as a private residence.
“Meanwhile, part of the heritage-listed former Addington Prison in Christchurch has been repurposed as backpacker hostel accommodation showing that under empathetic and cooperative ownership, New Zealand’s built heritage can be usefully retained.”