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Buyers seek to add to flagship retail site’s century-long legacy

The prime central Christchurch site that over a century ago gave birth to a top New Zealand retail chain and is still home to one of its leading stores has gone up for sale.

The more than 1.3-hectare Colombo Street property was the location of the flagship store for Smiths City when founded by Henry Cooper Smith in 1918.

Still headquartered in Christchurch on site, during this time it has grown into a household name as one of the country’s leading retailers, supplying home appliances, furniture, electronics and other household items from 20 stores nationwide.

Priding itself on a wide product range for customers of all ages and budgets, Smiths City has also branched into insurance and finance products such as personal loans and credit cards.

Previously listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange, it was acquired by private equity firm Polar Capital during the height of COVID-19 and has undergone a significant rebranding and restructure to position it for future success.

The site housing Smiths City’s Colombo Street store will provide a new owner with an annual net rental income of $1.6 million plus all outgoings and GST on a new 10-year lease, with two further six-year rights of renewal. The lease agreement will lock in fixed annual rent increases of two percent, with a mid-term market rent review at year five.

Thanks to flexible, development-intensive zoning, the large landholding for sale also offers significant future expansion and redevelopment possibilities and an array of potential future uses including a blend of residential and commercial.

The freehold land and buildings at 550 Colombo Street, Christchurch, are being offered for sale through Bayleys Canterbury.

The property will be sold by deadline private treaty closing on Thursday 14 March, unless it is sold earlier.

Bayleys salesperson Ryan Kerr said the site contained five contiguous building structures with a combined net lettable area of close to 7,000 square metres.

These sit on more than 13,300 square metres of freehold land across six titles, with 156 on-site car parks.

“Constructed between 1979 and 2014, the buildings have undergone multiple extensions and alterations since and are well-suited for a large-format retail tenant. There is also flexibility to further extend the premises or to reconfigure the buildings into smaller tenancies if required.

“The property has an Initial Evaluation Procedure seismic rating of 100 percent of new building standard.

“It enjoys prominent inner-city profile with extensive dual frontage to Colombo and Dundas streets, along with driveway access via Welles Street,” Kerr said.

The Colombo Street site forms part of the Commercial Central City Mixed Use Zone under Christchurch’s district plan.

This provides for development for an array of possible activities, or combinations of activities – from the existing retail through to offices and commercial services, residential and visitor accommodation, healthcare and education facilities – up to a potential height of 21 metres.

The Colombo Street property sits within a 10-minute walk of the Christchurch Bus Interchange and Cathedral Square.

Bayleys’ South Island Commercial and Industrial General Manager William Wallace said buyers stood to benefit greatly from this premium central-city location which placed the property in the heart of Christchurch’s ongoing urban renewal and repositioning as a world-class city.

“Positioned on a major urban arterial route, 550 Colombo Street is conveniently located relative to the central business district and within a vibrant urban area with an abundance of projects and infrastructure initiatives underway.

“As a gateway destination to the South Island, Christchurch is a place of transformation where change and innovation have been embraced, creating a strong economy and vibrant place to live. The $40 billion post-earthquake rebuild continues at pace to deliver an attractive, modern, resilient and future-proofed city.

“The key Anchor Projects and Precincts have played a crucial role in this transformation, with world-class facilities such as the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, Metro Sports Facility, Tūranga (Central Library) and the progressive re-development of Cathedral Square and the Canterbury Multi-use Arena drawing visitors from around the world,” Wallace said.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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