REAL ESTATE

How the Republic2 development will look on completion. How the Republic2 development will look on completion. CREDIT: Bayleys

Community trust buys sizeable Wellington property portfolio

Friday 18 June 2010, 9:02AM
By Bayleys
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WELLINGTON CITY

The growth of Wellington as a tourism destination has seen one of New Zealand’s biggest residential property management organisations buy up a block of short-stay holiday apartments in the capital.

Marram Community Trust – which owns and manages holiday rental properties for the benefit of employees of 90 companies including New Zealand Post, the ANZ Bank, and Telecom – has purchased a mix of nine one and two-bedroom apartments in Wellington’s central city Te Aro precinct.

Marram administers 170 fully-furnished holiday homes in 50 New Zealand locations – including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and other Central Otago towns, National Park, Mt Maunganui and other seaside settlements in the Bay of Plenty, the Nelson/Marlborough region, and lakeside at Taupo and Rotorua.

In addition to the nine apartments purchased in Wellington, Marram has also bought 590square metres of ground floor office space in a new Lorne Street complex, coming with 15 secured on-site car parks. Marram intends to occupy this ground floor space for its own office requirements. The Lorne Street site known as Republic2 is being developed by Lorne Street Developments Ltd, a company managed by Stratum Management Limited.

The joint residential/retail real estate deal was brokered by Bayleys Capital and Commercial sales consultant Graeme Diamond and involved identifying a handful of property developments or existing commercial properties which would meet Marram’s very specific requirements.

Marram chief executive Glenn Clark said that when Marram Community Trust was established some 60-years ago, the holiday habits of New Zealanders were fairly simply – head off to the beach for two or three weeks at Christmas.

“Now though, there is a greater uptake of foreign travel spread throughout the year, and of course more domestic short-break travel based around cultural or sporting events. In Wellington that can range from attending the World of Wearable Arts show, taking in the Wellington rugby 7s, or visits to Te Papa,” Mr Clark said.

“Reflecting this change, Marram has invested in this quality new development in Wellington. As the capital is not a beach or skifield destination, one of the primary requirements Marram sought in its dealings with Bayleys was that any potential apartment offering had to be centrally located in the “cultural heart” of the city.”

A survey released by the Tourism Industry Association in May this year announced that Wellington was now New Zealanders' preferred destination for a winter holiday, followed by Christchurch, Auckland, Queenstown and Nelson. Guest nights in the Wellington have increased 73 per cent to 1.3 million during the past decade.

Graeme Diamond said that being intricately networked among Wellington’s commercial property developers, Bayleys was able to put forward the apartment and retail package within Stratum’s Republic2 complex for consideration by Marram.

Stratum Management Director Craig Stewart said that while the project was well advanced from a construction perspective and had already achieved significant sales, to have a nine unit sell-down in one transaction - in conjunction with an agreement to sell the ground floor retail space - was an exceptional result.

Marram Community Trust will add the Republic2 apartments to its membership portfolio offering when the development is scheduled to be completed in May next year.