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Kiwi rock star buys historic Akaroa gem

Kiwi rock star buys historic Akaroa gem

Rock star turned Akaroa restaurateur Ben Campbell is planning to breathe new life into one of the best-known historic landmarks in the small Banks Peninsula town, southeast of Christchurch.

Campbell is the bass guitarist for Zed, who topped the charts in 2000 with Renegade Fighter and later Glorafilia.

A dual resident of Akaroa and Christchurch for the past six years, he has bought the Grand Hotel, adjacent Waeckerle’s Cottage and 1909sq m of surrounding land, for an undisclosed sum ahead of auction. He already owns Ma Maison restaurant in the township together with co-owning Mandala restaurant.

The properties were sold by investment sales specialists Courtney Doig and Michael Lough of Colliers in Christchurch.

“We are ecstatic the property holdings are in Ben’s hands. It’s great he’s an Akaroa local, and he’ll be a long term custodian of the property – that was very important to our client who’d owned the holdings since 1989. Ben is an experienced operator with a great vision to see the buildings through another chapter in their history,” Doig says.

“We’re really excited to watch his plans come to fruition.”

Doig says the move to split the offering into three separate opportunities – the hotel, the cottage and the land – helped fuel interest from a broad range of potential buyers.

Located at 4-16 Rue Lavaud, the hotel and cottage occupy a prime position at the gateway to the Akaroa township. The hotel dates back to 1883, and has seen many changes over the years.

“I’ve always thought how important the Grand Hotel is to Akaroa... it’s such a landmark and it sets the tone for what to expect. I love that it’s pretty much the first thing you see, apart from the view, as you drive into Akaroa. Both The Grand and Waeckerle’s

Cottage are so drenched in history and I’ve always thought they would be great buildings to sympathetically restore,” Campbell says.

“My plan for The Grand is the same as my plan for Akaroa – for it to be a place of recharging and rebalancing, a space to enjoy friendship and community in this beautiful secluded bay. My passion is creating inspirational spaces where people feel like working, living and having fun.

“Music is fundamental to my life and work; The Grand is a perfect place to showcase New Zealand and international talent.”

His plan for Waeckerle’s cottage is to sympathetically restore it as a living museum and make it available for short term rental.

“There’s also the potential to offer it to up-and-coming Kiwi writers and artists as a month long residency through the offseason. We’d work with Creative NZ and the Arts Council and our local trust to select the participants, then hold exhibitions in The Grand.

“I want to live a good life here. I want to build an historic future where we appreciate all that has been given to us by those who have gone before.”

Related Experts

Courtney Doig

Investment Sales Broker

Christchurch (Agency)

Courtney has won multiple national awards and is recognised as one of the star performers at Colliers. She is widely respected for her initiative, tenacity, and professionalism. 

During the past year, she negotiated more than $94 million of investment sales including a diverse variety of commercial buildings and ‘as is where is’ body corporates.

Rising to the top of the industry in a short time, Courtney was named Colliers International Rookie of the Year in 2014, after achieving the highest revenue of all new brokers. Since then she’s added Colliers International Managing Director’s Award in 2011 & again in 2013, followed by the REINZ Commercial & Industrial Rising Star of the Year in 2014 and General Manager’s Award in 2017. In 2018 she was recognised as the winner of the RICS Women of the Built Environment which promotes positive contribution to the property industry.

Courtney is the dominant broker in body corporate ‘as is where is’ sales, implicitly understanding the complexities of this sector. 

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Michael Lough

Investment Sales Broker

Christchurch (Agency)

A tenacious broker, Mike adopts a targeted approach to each and every campaign to unearth a strong group of potential buyers, generating competition for all his properties. This strategic and carefully considered approach has earned him an impressive track record. His meticulous planning results in great outcomes for his clients, who are happy to provide glowing references. Mike also has an enviable network of personal and professional contacts.

Mike negotiated more than $50m of sales in his first 18 months, from as is where is, office, and vacant land. He has established a specialist niche in accommodation assets where he works with a strong group of national buyers seeking investment opportunities in the South Island.

He has a Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication).

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