Environment Canterbury has bought the neighbouring historic Odeon Theatre and adjacent Lawrie & Wilson building under the hammer for $2.95 million in Christchurch amid strong bidding at auction.
The Colliers International auction netted more than $14 million in sales across five properties, attracting a record 124 bids.
Environment Canterbury’s post-earthquake offices adjoin the block in Tuam, St Asaph and now Manchester Streets. The buildings and neighbouring vacant land, comprising an area of 1,604sq m, were sold on behalf of Ōtākaro Limited.
Miles McConway, Environment Canterbury’s Director Finance and Corporate Services, said the strategic purchase provides options for the future at its current site.
“Environment Canterbury will initially be working with the NZ Historic Places Trust and Christchurch City Council to identify the extent of work required to preserve the two Category 1 listed buildings on the site that will enable early removal of the containers on the Tuam/Manchester intersection.”
Marketing agent Courtney Doig of Colliers International said it was great to see another barrier site in the CBD being purchased.
Ōtākaro Chief Executive John Bridgman was pleased with the outcome of the sale.
“Our role is to divest surplus Crown land to achieve commercial and regeneration benefits.
The Odeon carries a Category 1 listing, designed in 1883 by Thomas Stoddart Lambert as a public theatre and hall, and later transformed to a vaudeville venue, cinema and church.
“Lambert designed many other former Christchurch landmarks including the former United Services Hotel.”
While some parts of the auditorium and fly tower were demolished by CERA in 2012 because of safety concerns, the street frontage, entry and stairs have been retained.
The adjacent Lawrie and Wilson building dates back to 1911, built as auction premises. It was bought by the Christchurch City Council in 1985.
In other sales at the auction, there were 50 bids for a medical retail precinct at 212 Bealey Ave (4.68 per cent yield), which sold for $5.03 million, the Winnie Bagoes building in Welles Street fetched $3.315 million ($6.25 per cent), a retail strip in Centaurus Road $1.65 million (5.79 per cent) and a rural home at Tai Tapu $1.155 million.
Mark Macauley, General Manager of Colliers International in Christchurch, said continued quantitative easing, lowering retail deposit rates, continues to see investors seek higher returns in alternative investments.
“We estimate that there was $40 million in unsatisfied demand among investors seeking quality leased investments.
“As with the residential sector, we have seen little slowdown in interest from investors in the commercial property market. We’re seeing strong enquiry across all sectors.”