Land acquisition enables Auntie Dai’s to scale up for the future

A focus on building relationships and doing business face to face has paid dividends for a Christchurch food producer feeling the squeeze in its current premises.

March 28, 2023

By Scott Bentley


A focus on building relationships and doing business face to face has paid dividends for a Christchurch food producer feeling the squeeze in its current premises.

Dai’s Foods Ltd, which makes Auntie Dai’s Dumplings – a family freezer staple in Christchurch and around the country – was approaching full capacity in its Wigram facility, leaving the company unable to scale up to meet future demand.

The business had its sights on the rear section directly behind its existing facility, a 2,173sqm block of vacant land at 23 Lodestar Avenue, Wigram. It was the perfect site for expanding Dai’s Foods’ operations, however, it was leased to a yard-based occupier.

This is where CBRE industrial & logistics associate director Scott Bentley stepped in. Using an old fashioned, face to face approach, Scott brought the owner of Dai’s Foods together with the site’s Auckland-based owner, facilitated a positive relationship between the two parties and eventually secured a deal for Dai’s Foods to purchase the site.

“Dai’s Foods contacted us in 2022 to act as buyer’s agent and guide them through the process to follow to give them the best chance of buying the site. The owner of Dai’s wasn’t confident the land could be purchased, but I was happy to become involved as buyer’s agent to help achieve his goal,” Bentley says.

Previous discussions between Dai’s and the sitting tenant had not resulted in any progress. Bentley encouraged a different approach, based on face to face discussions between Dai’s Foods and the site’s owner, whom Bentley also had a strong existing relationship with, to pave the way towards making a formal signed offer.

Several meetings laid the foundation for a potential deal, which was complicated by the fact that the sitting tenant had an option to buy the property, he says.

“Any offer to purchase the property had to be at the right level, considering the tenant’s existing right to buy. While we worked through what the acceptable price level was likely to be, we focused on getting the two parties to know each other. This included taking the site’s owner out for dinner on one of his trips down from Auckland, which was a great way to cement a positive relationship.”

The process culminated in Dai’s Foods successfully achieving a signed contract to purchase the site, following the presentation of a formal offer to the site’s owner.

CBRE’s expertise in navigating deal processes such as this, which was more complicated than most due to the existing tenant’s option to purchase and having to terminate the existing lease early, was viewed as exceptionally valuable by Dai’s Foods, says Bentley.

“For occupiers who feel that they have reached a dead end in pursuing their property goals, it can be very worthwhile engaging an experienced property consultant who can help work through the challenges they are facing. This transaction shows how you can achieve excellent results based on relationships and trust. Doing business face to face has fallen out of favour since Covid, but this transaction is another example of just how much value can be gained when both parties get around the table and get to know each other.”

Dai’s Foods is now able to proceed with expansion plans which will allow them to scale up production, Bentley says.

“Purchasing this land will allow Dai’s to move their business forward and meet the high levels of demand they are experiencing for their products. Auntie Dai’s Dumplings is a local Christchurch success story and I am looking forward to seeing the business grow and thrive.”