Skip to main content Skip to footer

An iconic Auckland CBD building poised to benefit from CRL growth

An iconic Auckland CBD building poised to benefit from CRL growth  hero

A stunning neoclassical heritage building, superbly positioned to capture the growth potential of Auckland’s City Rail Link, is for sale as a boutique freehold investment in the heart of the CBD.

Located on the high-profile corner of Darby and Elliott Streets, the Darby Building is freehold commercial building at the epicentre of Auckland’s retail, hospitality and commercial activity.

It is only a moment’s walk from the site of the upcoming Aotea Station, which will be the busiest stop on the CRL network upon completion in 2024.

The property’s location, amenity and character provide excellent future income potential for a new owner looking to capitalise on Auckland’s growth at a relatively affordable price point.

Colliers International has been exclusively appointed to market 8-18 Darby Street for sale by expressions of interest closing at 4pm on Wednesday 30 September, unless sold prior.

Blair Peterken, Director of Colliers’ Capital Markets team, says freehold CBD investments of this calibre rarely come available in this price bracket.

“This is a unique opportunity to acquire an iconic freehold building in an admired and tightly held location,” says Peterken,

“The Darby Building is a stunning character property recognised for its rich heritage and neoclassical aesthetic attributes.

“With frontages facing both Elliott and Darby Streets, it is well positioned to benefit from foot traffic along a popular and busy pedestrian thoroughfare.

“The completion of the CRL and Auckland’s continued growth will bring increased foot traffic for the Darby Building’s retail tenants, boosting the attractiveness of its high-ceilinged office accommodation.

“A new owner can seize the immediate opportunity of leasing out the current vacancy, while market-based rental review mechanisms will position your income for the future.

“Best of all, the freehold property is of a boutique investment size relative to other Auckland CBD investments, representing affordable value. Savvy investors with a longer-term view will not want to miss all this potential.”

Adam White, Auckland CBD specialist with Colliers’ Auckland Investment Sales team, says the Darby Building was designed in 1899 and completed the following year.

“It is the significant work of architect Arthur P Wilson, whose notable buildings include the much-admired Strand Arcade next door, and the Northern Steamship Company at Britomart.

“It features a neoclassical façade of solid brick and plaster, divided into bays and pilasters, with ornamental cornices and pediments.

“The building initially comprised two soft goods warehouses over four floors, including a half-basement. In 1913 the ground floor was transformed into shops, while the upper floors remained mostly unchanged.

“The building has retained most of its decorative elements to this day and adds to the overall character of Elliott Street, which is home to a number of contemporary heritage buildings.”

The 1,391sq m building (approx) occupies a 404sq m freehold site with Business City Centre zoning.

It is currently 93 per cent occupied by area, returning a split-risk passing income of $487,650 plus GST. Once fully leased, it could return an estimated market income of $629,000 plus GST.

The tenants include one of Auckland’s most popular night clubs, Bar 101, which occupies the first floor and basement, connected via an internal stairwell.

Owned and managed by one of New Zealand’s leading bar and restaurant organisations, the Lawrenson Group, it currently accounts for 41 per cent of the Darby Building’s total income.

A number of local food retailers are located on the ground floor, maximising the street front appeal of the busy Darby and Elliott Street thoroughfare.

Tenants include Pizza Club, an eastern Mediterranean cafe and a Thai restaurant, which together account for 43 per cent of the total income. A fourth retail tenancy is currently vacant, providing future income potential.

The top floor is occupied by three office tenants, including a potential vendor leaseback, providing the remaining income.

The building’s construction is of solid brick with a steel structural framework on the ground and basement floors, and a timber structural framework on the first floor and above.

The windows all feature timber joinery aside from chain mesh, used for creating an enclosed outdoor space within the bar, on the second floor.

Access to the basement is via two separate stairwells utilised as bar entrance with a third independent entrance with ornate stairwell and lift.

The property has easy access to several large public parking facilities and is well located to buses and the upcoming Aotea Station.

The CRL is the largest infrastructure project in New Zealand’s history, comprising two 3.5km long twin rail systems with three new stations. It is under construction now and due for completion in 2024.

Aotea Station will be the first stop after departing downtown Britomart, and is expected to be New Zealand’s busiest train station.

Entrances will be located on both Wellesley and Victoria Streets, with Darby Street placed conveniently between the two.

The design of Aotea Station has been futureproofed as a potential hub for any North Shore train lines, further increasing the geographic significance of this station and surrounding buildings.

“Rarely do freehold assets of this size come to the market in such a sought-after location, making the Darby Building one of the more exciting opportunities in the Auckland CBD in 2020,” says Peterken.

Related Experts

Blair Peterken

Director | Capital Markets


After more than a decade in Australia’s highly competitive commercial property sector, Blair joined Colliers International NZ as Director in the Capital Markets team in April 2017.

Specialising in the sale of larger commercial assets and mixed-use sites around New Zealand, Blair brings a high level of energy and diligence to the industry. His extensive knowledge and educational background ensures he is well-equipped in progressing and developing the Capital Markets team.


Previous Experience

From 2014 – 2017, Blair was Director and Head of JLL’s South Sydney office where under his leadership, the company  grew from third to first in the South Sydney market in both leasing and sales. In 2015 he was the company’s highest fee earner across the Australian industrial business. Blair specialised in the sale and leasing of larger industrial and commercial assets including mixed-use development sites within the South Sydney market.

Prior to this he was Head of Industrial, South Sydney at CBRE. While at CBRE, Blair won the prestigious Circle of Excellence Award twice for his performances and was highest fee writer in the South Sydney office in 2012 and 2013.

Peterken’s top transaction while in Sydney  was the 2014 sale of a 4.9ha business park in Rosebery, South Sydney to Meriton Group  for A$190,000,000

His two biggest leases were the single largest leasing transactions in South Sydney in their respective years. In 2011, he leased a Goodman-developed, 12,400sq m warehouse and office in Mascot to logistics company Toll, and last year, he leased a Meriton-owned 22,000sq m site in Pagewood to WSI Logistics.


A selection of notable sale transactions:

  • Sale of St Kentigern Girls School, Remuera - $40,000,000 +
  • The General  Buildings, 29-33 Shortland Street, Auckland - $42,000,000
  • 110 Symonds Street, Auckland - $38,500,000
  • 1-55 Rothschild Ave, Rosebery - $190,000,000
  • Central Park Business Park,  Greenlane - $209,000,000
  • Bunnings Hamilton South - $25,100,000
  • The Warehouse, Blenheim - $16,380,000
  • NZI Centre, Auckland - $63,000,000
  • Royal Heights Shopping Centre, Auckland - $17,000,000
  • 75 Karangahape Road, Auckland - $23,300,000
  • 5 Nelson Street, Auckland - $9,000,000
  • 66-80 Broadway, Newmarket - $65,000,000


View expert

Adam White



I am an integral part of the Colliers International Investment Sales division. I specialise in sales with my main focus on Auckland's inner CBD and city fringe areas where I have sold over $250,000,000 of commercial property.

Notable Transactions:

- 17-21 Cross Street, Auckland CBD $10,000,000

- 9 Hopetoun Street, Freemans Bay $16,550,000

- 44 Sales Street, Auckland CBD $10,675,000

- 528-588 Rosebank Road, Avondale $25,750,000

- 2-8 Anzac Avenue, Auckland CBD $9,500,000

- 11 York Street, Parnell $8,111,111

- 131 Queen Street $52,300,000

- 2 Kitchener Street, Auckland Central $22,050,000

- 1 Broadway, New Market $12,000,000


View expert