Firm widens its heritage focus
Successful property investor Box 112, responsible for restoring several heritage buildings in Christchurch, is widening its focus into the private equity sector.
It recently received a major boost to its coffers with the sale of the distinctive former Midlands Club building at 176 Oxford Tce.
Mark Macauley, Colliers’ general manager in Christchurch, negotiated the $6.9 million sale to an offshore investor who bought the building sight unseen.
“We had a lot of interest in this property. It’s spectacular – not just in terms of the meticulous restoration work – but also in its river outlook location and position next to Te Pae, the city’s new Convention Centre.
“Auckland investors, syndicates and overseas investors are all continuing to eye properties in Canterbury across the spectrum, from commercial through to industrial.
“It remains a very buoyant market with a huge amount of unsatisfied demand,” Macauley says.
Although reluctant sellers, the divestment of 176 Oxford Tce has allowed Box 112 to diversify into a broader investment space.
In 2019 founders Rob Farrell and Sam Rofe expanded the partnership with James Stringer and Tom Elworthy joining to form a new private equity company, The South Island Office.
Their first major investment was developing the former temporary library site on Peterborough and Colombo Sts into a 4000 sq m office now occupied by NZMA on a longterm lease alongside Dalmans, Accent Lighting and NZ School of Tourism.
That was followed last year by purchasing the food manufacturing company, Original Foods, for $30 million.
“We have continued in this space and are now looking at an additional investment into the food sector,” Farrell says. “We are also investigating land use change opportunities within the Canterbury Plains and, of course, still like the commercial property sector.
“These are all areas which we enjoy and have particular skillsets in.”
Box 112 is currently carrying out the restoration work on the old Municipal Chambers on the corner of Worcester Boulevard and Oxford Tce, under the direction of the City of Christchurch Trust.