Visionary buyer wanted for Parnell Station TOD land
Visionary buyer wanted for Parnell Station TOD land
11 April 2015
Auckland, 11 April 2015 - A remarkable opportunity to master-plan and develop a major mixed-use project around the proposed Parnell Station is on offer through the sale of a large parcel of land next to Auckland Domain.
The freehold 2.3 hectare site, located on KiwiRail land 200 metres from Parnell Village, is being marketed by John Holmes, John Schellekens and Brent McGregor of CBRE. It is for sale by tender closing on 21 May 2015.
Andrew Robinson, KiwiRail’s National Manager – Property Investment and Revenue, says: “KiwiRail first flagged this land sale was likely a number of years ago as we recognised the potential future use of rail land at 23 Cheshire St, Parnell. We’re now putting it on the open market after having had extensive conversations with interested parties.
“As a State Owned Enterprise, we need to act commercially and will be reinvesting the money from the sale into network-wide improvements. It’s a large site in a central location which will have good transport connections once the station is built.”
The property’s size and location make this a spectacular opportunity, says John Holmes.
“It’s rare to be able to purchase a site of this size in the centre of Auckland – particularly on the fringe of the CBD. As one of the largest available freehold land holdings within a two kilometer radius of the city centre it presents an exciting opportunity.”
With council plans for Parnell Station back on the table, the site offers the potential for the buyer to plan a transit-oriented development (TOD), says Schellekens.
“The fact that enabling works have commenced means this is an attractive proposition for developers,” he says. “It has the potential to become a major central-city transport node with its close access to the university, museum, Domain and the suburb of Parnell.”
A transit-oriented development on the site could include cafes, restaurants, shops, key services and apartments and/or townhouses, with expected passenger numbers passing through the station making such a development a compelling option, McGregor says.
“Construction of the station is expected to be a key enabler in the regeneration of this part of Parnell. It will service and integrate the local residential and commercial communities and surrounding amenities including Auckland Domain, the museum, the University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology and the Parnell shopping strip.”
More than 2000 passengers are forecast to disembark at Parnell station during the morning peak, according to Auckland Transport. Three quarters of those passengers are expected to head across Grafton Gully to the universities – taking pressure off Britomart Station.
“With Parnell Station being the closest station to the universities, it has the potential to be one of the busiest stations on the network, underpinning the viability of a mixed-use development on this site,” says McGregor.
“This land has excellent potential to become the site of one of only a few transit-oriented developments in greater Auckland.”
The Parnell business association, Parnell Inc, say that the creation of the station in Parnell marks a significant milestone in the overall business development of Parnell.
“For many years the focus has been on the North/South connection to the city and Newmarket via Parnell Rd. The station, together with our planned expansion of the Business Improvement District (BID) boundary will enable us to enlarge our vision and include East/West connectivity across the entire Parnell precinct.”
KiwiRail has already submitted to have the underlying zoning under the Proposed Unitary Plan (PAUP) changed to mixed use to facilitate development, Holmes says.
“Mixed use zoning is consistent with the adjoining properties to the east and would provide for a wide range of commercial and residential uses on the site. As such, KiwiRail has lodged a submission to the PAUP provisions requesting a change of underlying zoning.”
This zone change would open up the site’s potential uses quite significantly, says Schellekens.
“It is envisaged that with new zoning in place, the new owner will have multiple options to create a mixed-use community that will become an attractive and convenient place to live, as well as providing shops, services, cafes and vastly-improved transport infrastructure.”
The brownfield site houses several existing buildings and is occupied by Mainline Steam Heritage Trust, which is currently searching for alternative premises.
The new Parnell Station is also earmarked to be the new home of the original Newmarket station building, which has been in storage since 2008. The heritage structure was designed by Sir George Troup, chief engineer for the New Zealand Railways Department, and built in 1908.
The site benefits from an urban location on the CBD fringe in one of the most sought-after inner city suburbs in Auckland, says McGregor.
“Parnell has long been a desirable address for businesses and residents, given its location only two kilometres from the city centre and its well-known high street containing many popular shops, bars and restaurants.”
Recreational amenities including the Parnell Baths, the rose gardens, Judges Bay and the ASB Tennis Centre with its gymnasium and pool are also within easy reach of the station site, Schellekens adds.
Direct access from the site to Auckland Domain and Stanley Street is provided via an underpass.
Demographically, Parnell consists of a larger proportion of residents with higher average incomes than wider Auckland, as well as people aged between 20 and 34 and a larger proportion of couples without children, says Holmes.
“Parnell is characterised by large numbers of young professionals with disposable income, who enjoy living in the suburb because of its proximity to the CBD and its abundance of bars, cafes and restaurants. This demographic would be an ideal target market for apartments or townhouses on the station site.”
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2014 revenue). The Company has more than 52,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 370 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.