The landmark Alexandra Hotel on State Highway 39, Pirongia – 11.5 kilometres from Te Awamutu – is going to auction on 25 June with Bayleys, as part of their latest Total Property portfolio offerings.
The land, buildings and business are being marketed by Mike Swanson of Bayleys Waikato, who says there has been a hotel on the prominent freehold 4047sq m corner site since 1865.
“The hotel was then rebuilt in 1882 and again in 1930. It is this building, along with the modern tavern which was added to the site in 1970 and recently refurbished, that we are taking to auction as a going-concern,” says Swanson.
The nearly 80-year old 358sq m weatherboard hotel with its original sash windows and detailing has seven double bedrooms – two in the manager’s quarters and five in the main part of the building.
“The old hotel is currently being utilised solely as manager’s accommodation. It has been some years since it has provided accommodation for the passing public but the current owner fields at least half a dozen calls a week from people looking for a place to stay in the area so there is definitely an opportunity to grow the business in that regard,” says Swanson.
This building has a traditional layout with guest rooms opening off a central hallway, men’s and women’s’ bathroom and toilet facilities, and a large lounge which is accessed off the main double-pillared entry.
“This is an impressive room with stripped native timber feature walls and leadlight windows. The old hotel lends itself to a total refurbishment to bring it back to its former glory. Obviously this would take some work given the compliance requirements for such an operation, but someone with vision could turn this back into a very desirable place to stay,” says Swanson.
The modern tavern complex – including a bottle store - is a 422sq m building with exterior solid timber pillar features, plaster and brick cladding and decorative schist stone work. The interior also features macrocarpa timber work and the 2007 refurbishment has brought the 1970’s building into the new century.
The main public bar is a large L-shaped area with slide-back hinged aluminium windows on two sides. Recreational facilities include dart boards, two 6 x3 slate-topped pool tables, televisions and speaker system and a corrugated iron-fronted bar with New Zealand beers on tap.
The lounge bar is a larger area incorporating another corrugated iron-fronted bar, seating areas, a fireplace, a dance floor, a juke box and ‘pokie’ machines. It accesses the rear concrete aggregate courtyard through swing back folding doors. There is also a 225sq m fenced garden bar.
The kitchen is located on the south side of the building and is well-equipped with stainless steel work surfaces, hotplate, turbo fan oven and three deep fry cookers under a six grid fan extractor.
The main office, chiller room and sundry storage areas are accessed off the main passage way. The building has a security system with nine cameras and a burglar alarm system.
“The tavern caters for a thriving local rural community and also to the significant passing traffic along State Highway 39, which for Aucklanders is the fastest route to the Central Plateau ski fields,” says Swanson.
“As a business, the operation could suit a local farmer wishing to diversify from the land or equally someone looking for a change of life in a rural area. Certainly there is room to upgrade the old hotel building and return it to an accommodation business so the potential is there to develop the income strands. There is no other public accommodation available in the immediate area.”
Pirongia was originally called Alexandra in honour of Princess Alexandra of Denmark, wife of King Edward VII and was chosen by Lt. General Cameron of the British Army as a military base with the idea of making it the capital of the region. The hotel was originally called Finch’s Hotel and in 1870, was infamously the location for an inquest into the murder of a surveyor who was shot through the heart while examining land in the area.