Newmarket red shed site sold

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CATHER­INE HAR­RIS

‘‘Land val­ues in Auck­land are much higher these days’’

The Ware­house Group has sold a large 1.4 hectare prop­erty in Auck­land’s de­sir­able Newmarket for $65 mil­lion, and will shut its store there next Oc­to­ber.

The big-box retailer com­pany, which is on a cost-cut­ting drive, said the pro­ceeds would be used to re­duce debt.

The pur­chaser of the site was not men­tioned.

Once tipped for apart­ments, the site had re­source con­sent for a $200m mixed-use de­vel­op­ment in­clud­ing a ho­tel, apart­ments, of­fices and re­tail.

But The Ware­house has ditched plans to de­velop the site with a part­ner, fol­low­ing a change of chief ex­ec­u­tive and fal­ter­ing sales.

The group’s half year net profit to Jan­uary fell to $13.6 mil­lion, com­pared with $57.2m a year ear­lier.

It also re­cently an­nounced plans to cut 130 po­si­tions at its Auck­land head of­fice.

Re­tail com­men­ta­tor Paul Keane of RCG said re­cently that the sale seemed odd to him, and ques­tioned whether it was a short-term mea­sure to lift re­sults.

But he also noted that The Ware­house had tra­di­tion­ally op­er­ated in low-value sites.

‘‘Land val­ues in Auck­land are much higher these days, es­pe­cially in the in­ner-city ar­eas like Newmarket and the CBD.’’

The Newmarket site stretches along 66-80 Broad­way.

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