Mail centre revamps as retail

Te Puni Mail CentreThe former Te Puni Mail Centre on Petone’s Esplanade is to be reinvigorated as a commercial hub anchored by the big box format Australasian home improvement chain, Bunnings Warehouse.

Last year Bayleys Wellington brokered the $15.4 million sale of the NZ Post-owned property at 47 The Esplanade to Wellington-based commercial property investors, Hodge Group.

NZ Post’s mail sorting operation is being transferred to Palmerston North and the company will vacate the property by August.

Bayleys Wellington has the master agency for the leasing of the current administrative component of the property, with Bunnings confirmed as tenant for the existing rear warehouse facility – comprising around 80 per cent of the present NZ Post footprint.

Bunnings is expected to open in early-2016 and include a garden centre near the Hutt Rd Nevis St corner.

It is intended that the property will include a mix of bulk or supplementary retail, office, and hospitality tenants. A complete aesthetic refurbishment will revitalise the look and feel of the industrial looking property.

Johnny Curtis and Matt Gibbs of Bayleys say District Plan change 29 has created zoning freedom at the western end of Petone, which is facilitating growth and diversity in the area.

“Big box retail is taking off at this end of Petone with most of the key names already represented,” says Curtis.

“Pak n’ Save, The Warehouse, Kathmandu, Warehouse Stationery, Briscoes, and Rebel Sport have all cemented a presence in the neighbourhood and have played their part in attracting a loyal and growing customer base from across Wellington.

“These big name retailers have certainly boosted activity in Petone at the weekends in particular.”

The 2.2 hectare site has a waterfront position on The Esplanade with unobstructed views of the harbour and Wellington city, is a five minute walk from the Petone railway station and a 10 minute drive to Wellington CBD.

Gibbs says the 1990s building has been home to NZ Post for 25 years, but the new look building will allow flexibility for a wide range of tenants.

“There’s around 2000sqm of space available over the ground and first floors. Hodge Group is keen to talk to potential tenants and is willing to meet their needs in terms of how the space is carved up,” says Gibbs.

“Shayne Hodge of Hodge Group has indicated that in terms of form and function, he will be led by the market to a certain degree – the property is a blank canvas for the right tenant or tenants.

“Tenants can take as little as 160sqm or bite the bullet and commit to 2000sqm.”

It is expected that the Bunnings operation will attract strong foot traffic numbers. NZ Post intends putting post office boxes on the Esplanade side of the property which will also ensure a constant flow of potential customers for any businesses securing space on the ground floor of the property.

“There will be businesses that can see the very real benefits of being located close to Bunnings to leverage off the clientele that such an operation brings to the area,” says Curtis.

“There are 60 car parks in the front of the building which gives this location a clear competitive advantage over many office and retail spaces throughout the wider Wellington region.

“With the exit of NZ Post from this tightly-held site, the waterfront location becomes available for visionary retail, office and hospitality tenants who want to be part of Petone’s continuing metamorphosis into the region’s leading shopping and business destination.”

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